The transition from longtime head coach Andy Talley to Mark Ferrate has gone smoothly, for the most part. The one area where it didn’t - and this should probably have been expected - was the amount of staff turnover.
Defensive coordinator Billy Crocker took the same job at UConn after posting the #1 defense in the FCS. Tony Trisciani got a promotion at CAA rival Elon, and even S&C coach Jake Cox left for Baylor. All understandable moves during a coaching transition.
Ferrante recently filled out his staff, but he also shifted a few personnel internally. Here’s a brief recap of the changes to the existing staff:
- Joe Trainer was promoted to Defensive Coordinator, a position he previously held on Andy Talley’s staff from 200-2004.
- Ola Adams is now in charge of Special Teams and Cornerbacks. He previously ran the Running Backs.
- David Riede is now running the Safeties. He previously ran the Cornerbacks (and will continue to coordinate recruiting for the program).
- Shane Brady is now an Offensive Assistant. He was previously a Defensive Assistant.
- Andy Talley is staying on staff as the Head Coach Emeritus.
There’s also three new staffers (four if you include S&C coach Brian Tracz) and we’ll break down what to expect below.
Ross Pennypacker, Defensive Line
Pennypacker is coming ‘home’ to Villanova, where he started his coaching career as an assistant from 2006-2007. He was most recently the defensive coordinator at Division II Kutztown (Pa.).
Known for a good rush defense and forcing turnovers, Pennypacker should slot seamlessly back into a staff he’s familiar with.
Brian Jones, Running Backs
Another former ‘Nova staffer, Jones was at Villanova from 1985-1986 back when Talley first kickstarted the program. He then went on coach for more than 20 years in the FBS with Gary Pinkel at Toledo and Missouri.
Jones coached several 1000-yard rushers at Missouri as part of a spread attack, and often featured a heavy rotation that frequently averaged 200+ yards rushing a game.
Sean Devine, Offensive Line
How about poaching your biggest rival’s offensive coordinator? Devin ran Delaware’s offense for the past four seasons, but when Blue Hens fired head coach Dave Brock he was always likely to leave.
Despite Delaware’s struggles, their offenses under Devine were consistently very good both running the ball and protecting the quarterback. With Ferrante leaving his duties with the OL behind, Devine is a great hire to fill the position.