Boise State football assistant coach Eliah Drinkwitz became the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at North Carolina State on Monday — the latest sign of turmoil within the Broncos’ program.
Drinkwitz left after one year as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach to join a program that has lost more games than it has won the past three years, dismissed its previous coordinator and could have head coach Dave Doeren on the hot seat after an 18-20 start to his tenure.
Drinkwitz was coach Bryan Harsin’s co-offensive coordinator at Arkansas State in 2013 and tight ends coach at Boise State in 2014. He was promoted to OC for 2015, when the Broncos finished 15th in scoring (39.1 points per game) and total offense (501.3 yards per game) while playing most of the season with true freshman quarterback Brett Rypien.
“Eli is one of the bright and innovative offensive minds in our game, and I’m excited to have him join our staff,” Doeren said in a statement. “... He has learned and been able to blend some of the most successful offensive styles in the game and he’ll bring an exciting style to N.C. State.”
Drinkwitz is the second straight offensive coordinator to leave after one season under Harsin. Mike Sanford went to Notre Dame as coordinator after the 2014 season. The Broncos will have their sixth offensive coordinator in seven years in 2016 unless Harsin, the playcaller from 2006-10, installs himself or brings back a former coordinator.
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Drinkwitz also is the second coaching departure off the 2015 full-time coaching staff. Defensive backs coach Julius Brown won’t return, the school confirmed Monday — a week after the Idaho Statesman and other media outlets reported his departure. The school didn’t provide any details but a source told the Statesman that Brown was forced out.
Tension existed between Harsin and Drinkwitz, the source said, which could explain why Drinkwitz left for a seemingly less-certain future at N.C. State and walked away from the chance to develop Rypien. Doeren is a former defensive coordinator, which could provide more freedom for Drinkwitz. He also will be paid more. He made $300,020 last year at Boise State; N.C. State gave him a three-year contract worth $450,000 per year, according to the The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. Former N.C. State coordinator Matt Canada made $560,000.
“We would like to thank Coach Drinkwitz for his contributions to the success of the Boise State football team the last two seasons, and we wish him and his family nothing but the best going forward,” Harsin said in a statement.
At least one more coach has considered leaving the staff, the source said.
The coaching turnover comes on the heels of redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Ogle’s decision to transfer, defensive end Kamalei Correa’s decision to leave early for the NFL after a second-team all-conference season (a move the school didn’t ackowledge with a press release or quote from Harsin), bowl suspensions of defensive standouts Tanner Vallejo and Dylan Sumner-Gardner, a domestic-violence case involving tight end David Lucero (pleaded guilty to battery), decisions by at least two scholarship players to quit in 2015 (tailback Charles Bertoli and offensive lineman Troy Bacon), the academic ineligibility of defensive tackle Antonie Turner, the arrest of quarterback Ryan Finley for resisting/obstructing officers, and a locker room fight that injured wide receiver Rick Smith, who was later dismissed from the team, and attracted a police investigation of tailback Jack Fields. All of that has happened within the past 11 months, including a disappointing 9-4 season.
Sumner-Gardner added to the trouble Monday when he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug paraphernalia use or possession with the intent to use. He was cited Nov. 27 and failed to appear in court in the designated window (Dec. 4-18). Sentencing is scheduled for next month.
Offensive coordinator turnover at boise state
Eliah Drinkwitz’s departure means the Broncos likely will have their sixth offensive coordinator in seven seasons in 2016. Previous coaches became offensive coordinators elsewhere unless listed.
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