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Syracuse football: Fran Brown hints at new offensive and defensive coordinators

The new head coach of the Orange met virtually with recruits to discuss his plans for 2024 - including who else will join his staff.

The Mob defense lines up in its signature 3-3-5 formation in a game against Clemson on September 30, 2023. One of the biggest decisions for Brown to make is whether or not to maintain this approach.
Photo by Michael Ostrowski

Now that Fran Brown has been announced as the new head coach of Syracuse Orange football, he’s already at work assembling his support staff for next season. As with most coaching changes, Brown wasn’t expected to retain previous assistants, though it wasn’t completely out of the question for the first-time head coach.

We recently gained some more clarity on the topic thanks to a report by Syracuse.com’s Emily Leiker, which she published Friday evening. The report states that Brown met with SU’s 2024 recruiting class over Zoom to discuss his vision for the team. According to players on the call, Brown has already made up his mind on who he will be hiring as his coordinators.

Offensive Lineman Noah Rosahac told Leiker that Brown is bringing in an offensive coordinator from an NFL role, and a defensive coordinator from the SEC. That means that Jason Beck and Rocky Long, who both began their respective roles with SU this year, will be on the way out.

There’s a slight change that Beck could stay and return to being the QBs coach, as he was for a decade under Robert Anae, but I expect that he will field some offers for OC jobs after his creative approach helped fix the Orange offense in the final three weeks.

As for who some candidates could be based on that criteria:

  • Jeff Nixon, the current RBs coach for the New York Giants, was part of the same Baylor teams as Brown.
  • Glenn Thomas, now an offensive analyst for the Pittsburgh Steelers, also worked with Brown as an OC for Temple and Baylor.
  • Elijah Robinson (pictured below) finished the season as Texas A&M’s interim head coach. He’s worked mainly with Defensive Lines but has recently earned co-DC duties. Additionally, Robinson and Brown are close friends as both grew up in Camden, New Jersey.
  • Robb Smith, who spent this past year as an analyst for Penn State, has a history as the DC of Rutgers in 2020-21 and Duke in 2022. He should be looking to get back into a larger role.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 18 Abilene Christian at Texas A&M Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

(Author Note: I want to emphasize that all of those are SPECULATIVE and if/when we have more solid information on who Brown is actually bringing in, we will report it.)

The current SU coach who will be sticking around is fellow Jersey native Nunzio Campanile, who was also involved in the virtual meeting. Tight End Jamie Tremble, a 4-star Georgian and SU’s top 2024 recruit, said Campanile confirmed to the group that he is staying and currently helping Brown with the transition process.

It is unknown if Nunzio will remain the Tight Ends coach as he was in 2023, or if his position will look different next year.

Regardless, I’m confident that we will know more soon. The players echoed a sentiment that Brown was very open and honest with them, so with a little luck, he will show the same attitude to the media Monday at 10 when he is formally introduced.