It didn't take long after the national championship game for college football fever to creep back into the souls of diehards. It may be the offseason, but with signing day just around the corner, football is once again on the minds of fans across the country.
Signing day is synonymous with the offseason, as teams must revamp their rosters after the departures of seniors and early NFL draft entrants. Another reoccurring theme in the offseason is the reshuffling of coaching staffs.
Staff changes are common in the college football world, and it's no surprise that San Diego State made some moves this offseason. The coaching moves came early for the Aztecs, as they parted ways with quarterbacks coach Brian Sipe and receivers coach LeCharls McDaniel. Head coach Rocky Long hired Hunkie Cooper to coach the receivers, and although a replacement for Sipe hasn't been officially announced, Long said he's looking at candidates.
The most important staff shakeup of the offseason, however, occurred when offensive coordinator Bob Toledo announced his retirement. With Toledo's departure, head coach Rocky Long was forced to go back to the drawing board, and seek out someone who would ultimately become SDSU's fifth offensive coordinator since 2008.
To fill Toledo's void, Long eventually decided to promote running backs coach Jeff Horton. Although it wasn't a vibrant hire like many fans had hoped for—some wanted a young, innovative, pass-happy and spread-oriented coach—there are many positives to the move
Arguably the most important benefit of Horton's promotion is the continuity it provides for the Aztecs. Horton has been a member of the staff for four years, and he knows his personnel well.
Additionally, his personnel knows the playbook well, and Horton won't be changing much when it comes to base formations and terminology. This is a huge relief for the players, as it can take months to simply learn the verbiage used by a new coach.
Horton will undoubtedly add some wrinkles to the playbook, but he won't be starting from scratch, which is essentially what SDSU has had to do in previous years when new offensive coordinators came into the mix.
Additional Assistant Coach
Most schools throughout the country employ an offensive coordinator who also coaches a position group. Toledo's sole responsibility at SDSU was to call plays.
The promotion of Horton—who will remain the running backs coach—allowed Long to hire an additional position coach. Long took this opportunity to hire former UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck as the special teams coordinator, an area in which the Aztecs have struggled with at times during Long's tenure.
To say that Horton has been around the block a few times is an understatement.
He has been coaching since 1984, and his coaching history includes stints as a head coach at UNLV, Nevada and Minnesota, as an assistant at Wisconsin and Minnesota, and as an assistant with the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions.
When it comes to offense, there isn't much that happens on a football field that Horton doesn't know. He's seen it all, and his experience in both the NFL and college should pay dividends when it comes to his newest role. With his wide range of knowledge and expertise, Horton should have no problem incorporating new facets and philosophies to the Aztecs' pro-style offense.