With apologies to The Clash, the “Will he stay or will he go?” question for Eric Wolford apparently has been answered.
USC’s O-line coach and run game coordinator is getting a chance to become a coach in his hometown, and apparently is talking it. I say “apparently” because I have not spoken to Wolford directly.
But I’ve been told the coach known as “Wolfy” has been offered the Youngstown State job and is expected to accept it. Broadcast reports in Youngstown have Wolford being introduced as the Penguins’ new coach this week.
The rushing numbers in Wolford’s lone year in Columbia won’t show much of an improvement. But I think Wolford deserves credit for instilling a toughness to the line that seemed to be lacking prior to Wolford’s arrival.
The Gamecocks were again last in the league in rushing, but they improved by about 30 yards from last season and had two backs — Kenny Miles and Jarvis Giles — average 5 yards a carry.
Steve Spurrier has pointed out the Gamecocks’ rushing numbers would have been better if not for all the sacks. But that’s sort of a backhanded compliment, given that the line is generally held most accountable in that category, as well.
But make no mistake: Spurrier and his staff valued Wolford for his on-field coaching and his work on the recruiting trail, as well. Wolford got commitments from a number of offensive linemen, including Calhoun County’s Eric Mack.
I can’t blame Wolford for leaving. Here’s why:
Head-coaching opportunities for assistants under 40 don’t come around every day, especially for O-line coaches. Wolford gets to be a head coach at 38 in his hometown for a program that historically has been very strong in the I-AA ranks.
Wolford likely would have had other opportunities had he stayed at USC and the Gamecocks continued to win. But there’s no guarantee they would have been head-coaching positions.
And only one school is located in his hometown — and it had an opening now.