The LSU Tigers’ magical 2019 season, which ended with a win in the national championship game, has been partly attributed to passing game coordinator Joe Brady.
Brady, who left Baton Rouge after one season to become the Carolina Panthers’ offensive coordinator, came to LSU after serving as an offensive analyst with the New Orleans Saints. The perception is that Brady helped the Tigers’ offense evolve into a juggernaut (nation leading 48.4 points per game), thanks to his innovative use of RPO’s.
Steve Ensminger was LSU’s offensive coordinator, and called most of the plays, but Brady had significant influence on the Tigers’ playbook.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron had a lot of faith in Ensminger, but he wanted to improve the Tigers’ offense and take it to the next level. That’s why he brought Brady to Baton Rouge.
The Tennessee Vols are in a similar situation entering 2020.
Jeremy Pruitt has faith in offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, but he also wants the Vols’ offense to continually evolve.
So it’s no surprise that UT has their own version of Joe Brady on staff — albeit in the form of two people.
Joe Osovet, a former off-the-field coach who was recently promoted to tight ends coach, is somewhat of the RPO godfather. He started using RPOs in the early 2000’s, well before they were taking the NFL by storm.
The other half of Tennessee’s RPO equation is Chip Long, the former Notre Dame offensive coordinator who recently joined the Vols’ staff as an offensive analyst.
Long was let go at Notre Dame not because he did a bad job, but essentially because Brian Kelly didn’t think he was a good fit anymore in South Bend. Long is known to be a demanding coach (so is Kelly), so perhaps the two coaches clashed a bit.
Either way, Long is another coach that often utilizes RPO’s to take shots down the field (which should help take Jim Chaney’s offense to the next level). Game prep and opponent specific RPO concepts are a big reason why Long was successful at Memphis and Notre Dame.
In Long’s lone season (2016) as the offensive coordinator at Memphis, he led the Tigers to the No. 15 scoring offense in the nation. In 2019, Long helped Notre Dame averaged 36.8 points per game (No. 13 in the nation).
Chaney, much like Ensminger at LSU, is still going to be the play caller at Tennessee. It’s still going to be his offense.
But Osovet and Long will be offering input and helping game plan (and likely updating UT’s playbook).
Jeremy Pruitt understands that offenses can quickly become stale. That’s why he made sure to bring innovative minds on staff to help Chaney. And to make sure Tennessee’s offense stays ahead of the curve.
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