The Rice football coaching staff has two additional changes. Offensive coordinator Jerry Mack is moving to the quarterback room.
Earlier this spring, when Rice football practices were still in session, two of three notable coaching changes were announced. Sanders Davis and Chris Monfiletto were promoted from within, filling vacated spots on the coaching staff. Davis will coach the offensive line while Monfiletto will coach the tight ends.
One more change has been announced. Mike Bloomgren detailed the additional move during a conversation the JP Heath on an episode of Rice Owls Insider. Offensive coordinator Jerry Mack will now coach quarterbacks while former quarterbacks coach Robbie Picazo will coach running backs.
This is Mack’s third position group he’s been responsible for at Rice. He started with the wide receivers in 2018 before shifting to running backs last season. His experience as a head coach at North Carolina Central combined with experiences in several different offenses made him a valuable sounding board for the rest of the offensive staff.
During the year he was inserted in the quarterback meetings. Bloomgren credits that to the development of the position over time. “We were best last year when Jerry Mack was in the quarterback room full time,” he said, later adding that position group, in particular, were ones who “need to hear the voice of our coordinator.”
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Mack’s influence on the offense was clear in the tail end of the 2019 season. With JoVoni Johnson at the controls, the Owls spread things out, balancing their traditional ground and pound with a more conventional look. Bloomgren hinted more of that could be in store for the future, making Mack’s presence in the quarterback room going forward a key component of any offensive evolution.
Picazo won’t be going far, but he will have a new responsibility. Learning from Bloomgren at Stanford, Picazo’s only experience has been in this system working with quarterbacks. Bloomgren wants him to give him a chance to develop and influence a new portion of the offensive. Former running backs coach Drew Svoboda has been working with him during the spring as he gets up to speed.
From an optics standpoint, the swap makes a lot of sense. The Rice offense looked its best last season when Mack had a direct line of communication into the quarterback room. Credit to Bloomgren for noticing the improvement and acting on it, even if that required some musical chairs on his staff to accomplish.
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