Following a winless 2020 season and a 6-12 record in the team’s last 18 outings, significant changes were expected to the FIU coaching staff. Early Tuesday morning, it was announced that longtime running backs coach Tim Harris Jr. has been promoted to offensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Bryn Renner will take over as quarterbacks coach. Harris Jr. and Renner replace former offensive coordinator Rich Skrosky, whose contract was not renewed following the 2020 season.
Both coaches will be tasked with rejuvenating an offense that averaged just 22.4 points per game and a passing attack that ranked 121st out of 127 FBS teams with output of 123.4 yards per contest. Renner, a former three-year starting quarterback at North Carolina has been on FIU’s staff for three seasons, serving as cornerbacks coach for the last two.
The defensive staff also saw a complete overhaul as co-Defensive Coordinators Jeff Copp and Jerod Kruse will not return in 2021, as announced in a press release by FIU Athletics. Additionally, defensive line coach Kenard Lang has taken the head coaching job at Maynard Evans High School in Orlando. Both Copp and Kruse served in their roles for two seasons following the retirement of former defensive coordinator Brent Guy after the 2018 season.
“I have made the decision to go in a new direction on defense,” Davis said. “I want to thank Coach Copp, Coach Kruse and Coach Lang for their contributions to FIU and helping rebuild our football program. I’m optimistic we will have a defensive staff in place in the coming weeks.”
While the defensive unit has performed well against the pass, the Panthers have been among the worst-performing teams against opposing rushing attacks in Conference USA over the past two years.
In 2019, FIU allowed 201.2 yards per game on the ground and that number increased to 235.6 yards per contest in 2020. Over the last 18 outings, the defense has allowed over 175 yards rushing 10 times — including five games of giving up more than 200 yards on the ground.
As first reported by Brett McMurphy of Stadium, FIU has hired former Texas State head coach Everett Withers to replace Copp and Kruse.
Withers had agreed to take the role following the 2018 season, before a last-minute opportunity with the New York Giants opened up.