Knights fans have seen substantial coaching changes in the last few weeks. First, defensive coordinator Tyson Summers left for the same position at Colorado State under new head coach Mike Bobo. Next, defensive backs coach Kirk Callahan left for UF to join John McElwain's staff. Now, offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe is retiring. The result is some shuffling of existing UCF coaching staff and several new hires.
Charlie Taaffe will always be appreciated by UCF fans for vitalizing an offensive that had been conservative, predictable, and downright bad before he came on board. So long, Charlie, and thanks for the memories:
Brent Key now moves into the spot vacated by Taaffe and will also coach the running backs. Earlier this year, Key was rumored to be the next choice for Head Coach in the event of George O'Leary's retirement. The move to offensive coordinator would seem to support the belief that he is heir apparent to O'Leary.
Key has been something of a do-everything coach for UCF, where he has spent virtually his entire career -- his UCF bio currently identifies him as "Asst. Head Coach of Offense/OL Coach/Recruiting Coordinator." Continuity can often be a good thing: ask the Oregon Ducks and Mark Helfrich (and Chip Kelly, and Mike Belotti). But Key's elevation should still give UCF fans some pause: Key has never before been an Offensive Coordinator. He did, however, "[shadow] Taaffe in the booth for the last half of the season."
I'm reminded of the expression, "To damn with faint praise."
On the other side of the ball, Chuck Bresnahan replaces Tyson Summers as defensive coordinator. It's a move which can't help but cause Knights fans to cringe. Bresnahan is the recently-fired former defensive coordinator for rival USF. USF's hiring of Bresnahan two years ago left our colleagues at Voodoo Five puzzled, and it's a hire which looks even worse for the Knights now (though to be sure, USF's bumbling on offense didn't do much to relieve the pressure on the defense).
While Bresnahan brings NFL coaching experience, his defenses weren't particularly good. Perhaps worse for the Knights, it's hard to see Bresnahan -- who hadn't coached at the college level for twenty years until USF hired him -- doing much to fill the recruiting void left by the departures of Summers and Callahan.
The other hires and staff changes provoke less of a reaction. Andrew Thacker was hired to coach safeties. The defensive backs coach will be Travis Fisher. Allen Mogridge replaces Key as offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. Director of player personnel Keegan Kennedy will now coach tight ends and H-backs and will in turn be replaced by Mike Buscemi. Danny Barrett will now coach QBs instead of RBs. Other than O'Leary, only two coaches remain in the same posts - Sean Beckton (wide receivers coach) and Lorenzo Constantini (defensive line coach).