Rice Football formalized the hiring of their position coaches this spring, but there have been a handful of other moves that went under the radar.
The 2023 Rice Football quality control staff has been revamped in the wake of an offseason that featured a host of changes on the staffing front. Rice hired five new position coaches — Jon Kay (linebackers), Pete Alomar (special teams), Jeremy Modkins (corners), John Settle (running backs) and Lucas Reed (tight ends) — but those weren’t the only changes inside the Patterson Center for the upcoming season.
Zach Werlinger – Quality Control Coordinator / Quarterbacks
Werlinger takes over the QC/Quarterbacks role that was vacated by Lucas Reed after he was promoted to coach tight ends. Werlinger is a former quarterback at Arizona who has had coaching stops as a grad assistant at Northern Arizona and Cal before arriving at Rice this March.
Ahmaad Smith – Quality Control Coordinator / Defense
Smith was a defensive back at Tennesse State in his playing days before stints in the American Indoor Football Association and the CFL. He’s spent the last several years climbing the coaching ranks, working as a defensive backs coach at Tennessee State for three seasons before joining Dartmouth as a defensive assistant and soon after as the assistant secondary coach.
JJ Nelson – Quality Control Coordinator / Wide Receivers
UAB alum and former Conference USA standout receiver JJ Nelson is listed as the Owls’ QC for wide receivers. He played professionally for the Arizona Cardinals from 2015 to 2018 before brief stints with the Raiders, 49ers, Bills and Colts, last being on an NFL roster in 2021. Now he’ll be assisting the Rice wideouts.
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