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UT offense made to order for new coach

08/19/2016, 12:41am EDT

Veteran line, running backs return for Brian Wright

UT offense made to order for new coach

As the new offensive coordinator for the University of Toledo, Brian Wright hopes to continue the tradition that the Rockets have built on the offensive side of the ball.

UT coach Jason Candle is making the transition from offensive coordinator to head coach and Wright will inherit a dynamic offensive system with plenty of returning talent.

“It’s a privilege to be at a great program like this and certainly one that has the tradition that this one has,” Wright said. “It’s exciting to come into an established offense that we have with a lot of veteran players. There’s a lot of great players that have done a lot of great things offensively here for a while. I’m excited to lead them and work to make it even better.”

Last year Toledo ranked third in the MAC in scoring offense at 35 points per game and third in total offense at 460.9 yards per game. The Rockets led the league in rushing offense at 207.9 yards per game.

With all the success on offense last season, Candle said it was important to find a coordinator who could seamlessly transition from last year.

“Brian Wright is a guy that fits our system and fits what we do,” Candle said. “During our interview process, we were looking for someone that was knowledgeable and fundamentally matched up with what I believe in. It’s been a great transition. We haven’t changed who we are and the fabric of where we come from.”

Wright, who grew up in Wooster, Ohio, spent the last four years as the offensive coordinator for Florida Atlantic.

He says he will lean on a veteran offensive line and talented running backs to power an up-tempo offense.

“We want to be a physical football team offensively and we want to establish the run game,” Wright said. “We have a great offensive line with a stable of running backs back there. We want to be physical and be fast and get lined up and run plays as fast as we can at times. And then we want to present some problems with formations and motions and shifts.”

UT returns four starters on the offensive line in seniors Storm Norton, Mike Ebert and Paul Perschon along with junior Elijah Nkansah. Wright says he has been impressed with the depth the team has on the line.

“We have depth up front and it all starts there, with the veteran offensive line that we have,” Wright said. “But the neat thing has been being able to watch the way our second offensive line is coming along now and getting better as camp has gone on.”

Along with the offensive line, the offense will be built around the three-pronged running attack of senior Kareem Hunt, junior Terry Swanson, and senior Damion Jones-Moore.

“Everybody knows about the depth and talent we have at running back,” Wright said. “It’s fun to watch those guys and not just their talent, but their work ethic and watch those guys come to work.”

The Rockets also return senior Corey Jones and junior Cody Thompson at wide receiver as well as senior Michael Roberts at tight end.

“I’ve been happy with the wideouts and the competition there and the effort and the speed with which they play the game with the ball and without the ball,” Wright said. “We’ve asked them to play hard when they don’t have the ball and they are down field blocking. They’ve done a great job of transitioning from a route where they don’t get the ball to blocking for the guy who does.”

At quarterback, three players are still battling for the starting job. Juniors Logan Woodside and Michael Julian and redshirt freshman Mitch Guadagni are all in the mix to lead the offense.

“Logan, Mike and Mitch have been competing all through spring time and it carried on through summer and we’re seeing that again here in camp,” Wright said. “Those guys are all working hard and getting better and it’s fun to watch them improve and compete.”

Wright said he has been impressed by the seniors in this offense and the way they have come into camp prepared and ready to set the pace for the talented unit.

“Some of the seniors on our offense are having their best camps and are playing some of their best football,” Wright said.

Contact Brian Buckey at: or 419-724-6110.

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