One look through Everett Withers' offensive staff at James Madison (FCS - VA), and one thing will be abundantly clear - when Withers left Ohio State for his first full-time head coaching job, he wanted to hire a young, hungry, offensive staff, the majority of which he had previous experience working with. The results have been impressive.
[Note, Withers served as interim head coach at North Carolina for the 2011 season.]
Withers has his JMU team standing 6-0 with wins over SMU, Lehigh, Towson, Albany, Morehead State and Stony Brook and they are doing it by scoring a whole lot of points, averaging just below 50 points per game.
A few of the members of the offensive staff worked under Withers at Ohio State where he served as the co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach in Urban Meyer's first season. The three coaches that have previous experience working with Withers are Zak Kuhr (co-OC / RBs), Parker Fleming (wide receivers / special teams) and Sean Fisher (TEs). Kuhr and Fisher both served in intern roles in Columbus, while Fleming worked with the offense and special teams.
Interestingly enough, almost the entire offensive staff - Jamal Powell (OL), Parker Fleming (WR / special teams), Brett Elliott (QBs / co-OC) - as well as Fisher all have various experiences at the small college level at one point or another in their coaching or playing careers.
That's four of the five coaches on the offensive side of the ball with D-III experience, leaving only Kuhr on the outside of the bubble. Prior to coming to JMU, Kuhr was a graduate assistant at Old Dominion working with the running backs and special teams.
It's also worth noting the youth of the offensive staff, with Powell in the throne as the seasoned veteran as a 2002 graduate before he went on to play in the NFL and CFL. The rest of the offensive staff graduated from college in 2006 or later, and have quickly worked their way to their current positions utilizing a variety of different paths.
Now, that staff Withers assembled has come together to form one of the most high powered offenses in the country at the FCS level in just their second season on campus.
Check out the Dukes' current offensive rankings:
- 1st in total offense
- 1st in first downs
- 2nd in scoring offense
- 3rd in third down conversions
- 4th in rushing offense
- 7th in passing efficiency
The infographic below illustrates their impressive offensive success through the first five games.
Withers is building James Madison back into a national FCS power and that success, coupled with this high octane offense, is bound to get him some serious looks as the coaching carousel continues to turn.