May 25, 2014

NW to continue established offense with new OC Brown

By Devin Golden
devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

— There may not be anyone better than Greg Brown to continue the Northwest Whitfield football team’s fast-paced, fifth-gear style.

Greg Brown, the girls basketball team’s head coach, will be Northwest’s offensive coordinator for the 2014 season after Crane accepted the Greenville (S.C.) High head coach position earlier this week. Brown has been an assistant football coach at Northwest for five of the past six seasons.

“It’s something that’ll be new for me,” Brown said. “It’s also something in the back of my mind I felt I wanted to do. It’ll be a challenge, but I’m all about a challenge.”

Crane was Northwest’s offensive coordinator for two seasons — a 15-6 combined record and the first state playoffs berth since 2010 — and Southeast Whitfield’s head coach for four seasons. Crane was the “conductor,” as Brown said, of Northwest’s up-tempo offense, which often was in no-huddle form. Crane used that style at Southeast, too.

Brown, though, has experience running nearly the exact same offense — just in a different sport.

As head coach of the Northwest girls basketball team for three seasons, Brown and the Lady Bruins have built a similar speedy offense on the court. It has led to success as Northwest has reached the Class 4A state playoffs each of the past two seasons and advanced to the second round this year.

“Coach Crane and I used to talk about that,” said Brown, who also will be the primary wide receivers coach. “He liked watching us play basketball and I liked watching what he did with football. We’re both similar. We don’t like going slow.”

In 2013 Northwest averaged 39.8 points per game on the gridiron, the most of any team in Region 7-4A. The Bruins reached the postseason and finished 9-2 — the first nine-win season since 2007. Next year, Northwest will be in the same league, except without Cass, Cedartown, main rival Dalton and River Ridge. The region adds Cartersville and keeps Gilmer, Heritage-Catoosa, LaFayette, Pickens, Ridgeland and Southeast.

The Bruins must replace play-making wide receivers Tevin McDaniel and Andy Whisenant and running back Jacob Webb due to graduation. Northwest also must replace the entire offensive line but returns starting quarterback Caleb Shiflett for his senior year.

“We’ll be doing the same thing,” Northwest head coach Josh Robinson said. “We’ll have a couple wrinkles, just like every year. We add and take away.”

Robinson, also the team’s defensive coordinator, said the fast-paced offense fits Northwest’s personnel.

“As a defensive guy, I’d like to line up with two tight ends and run right at people,” he said. “You have to match the style of your kids. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, this is the offense we want.”

Brown has been a football assistant for five years, taking a one-year break in 2011. He was offensive line coach in 2012 and running backs coach last season. Before coming to Northwest, he was an assistant for two seasons at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga.

Caleb Bagley will be an offensive line coach, and Drew Carter, a Northwest player in the mid-2000s, joins the staff as the quarterbacks coach. Ryan Scoggins, last year’s freshman team head coach, will assist with safeties and running backs. Steven Smith, last year’s defensive ends coach, will be the freshman head coach.

Another staff addition is Laquentin Taylor, previously an assistant at Coahulla Creek. Taylor will be the Bruins’ defensive ends coach. Red Cofield will be the cornerbacks coach, and Lance Miner will handle defensive tackles.