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McCall tabbed to run offensive show this fall for Jackson State
New offensive coordinator won’t abandon ‘Air Raid’ attack
Derrick McCall helped guide Jackson State to a pair of Southwestern Athletic Confernence titles as a player.
Now, he’s hoping to do the same as the Tigers new offensive coordinator.
McCall, 51, was promoted to offensive coordinator Monday, ending a search that lasted more than two months.
An official announcement by the university is expected after a contract has been signed.
A quarterback at JSU from 1979-82, McCall said the opportunity to take over the Tigers’ offense is “a dream come true.”
“I’m looking forward to this opportunity and I appreciate Coach (Rick) Comegy for entrusting me with the position,” McCall said. “I can’t wait to get started.”
There’s certainly work to be done.
Last season, under Earnest Wilson’s passing-oriented “Air Raid” offense, JSU led the SWAC in nearly every category imaginable thanks in large part to record-breaking quarterback Casey Therriault.
Therriault is gone, making finding his successor integral to the Tigers’ hopes in 2012.
Senior Dedric McDonald is the early favorite, but regardless of who’s under center McCall’s expectations for the Tigers offense remain high.
“The foundation has already been laid,” McCall said. “We’ve been succesful with what we’ve been doing. You may see some different formations, different sets … but basically we’re going to continue to build on what’s been laid.
“Our job is to put points on the board, McCall said. “We want to do it in a way that has never been done before. I want to be better than we were last year.”
Comegy’s search began in March when Wilson left JSU to become the offensive coordinator at Hampton University.
After serving as quarterbacks coach last season, McCall and offensive line coach Gregory Black split offensive coordinator duties this spring on an interim basis in what was essentially a try-out for the position.
Comegy also interviewed three outside candidates.
On May 25, Comegy said he had made his decision and that it was “an in-house move.”
By promoting McCall, Comegy said he is now in the market for a new quarterbacks coach. Black will remain the Tigers’ offensive line coach.
“I think (McCall) deserves an opportunity to see what he can do,” Comegy said.
Looking at a few key items on McCall’s to-do list
Congratulations Derrick McCall, you’re the new offensive coordinator at Jackson State.
Now, how do you plan on going about keeping the Tigers offense among the best in the SWAC all while looking to replace a record-breaking quarterback.
Another key area in need of attention is the offensive line.
So as you can see, there’s work to be done here.
“(Quarterback and offensive line) are two areas that you want to focus on because you can’t win games without the guys up front and then having a quarterback,” McCall said.
As you’ve ready by now, McCall enters his first season as the Tigers new offensive coordinator with some lofty goals and expectations.
JSU led the SWAC — and the entire Football Championship Subdivision for that matter — in offense. It was a unit that averaged, averaged, 490 yards per game last season. In today’s story, McCall didn’t mince words when discussing his objective.
“We want to do it in a way that has never been done before,” McCall said. “I want to be better than we were last year. I want to get better each and every year, each and every game.”
In order to have any chance of doing that, McCall has to find a quarterback. Just like head coach Rick Comegy said earlier this offseason, senior Dedric McDonald is penciled in that No.1 slot right now.
“My emphasis right now is trying to find a quarterback,” McCall said. “I’m very excited about McDonald. He did an outstanding job for us this spring.
“We’re hoping that (McDonald’s spring performance) will catapult him over into the fall and he just takes the job. There’s going to be some good competition there because I’m excited about (Mark) Thigpen and Tevin Champan … those guys all competed and worked hard during the spring.”
McCall also mentioned incoming freshman quarterback Lamontiez Ivey as “an exciting” option.
“He’s a guy we’ll be looking for, but hopefully he’ll be our future,” McCall said. “We’re hoping that McDonald will take this opportunity and take advantage of it.”
McCall said he plans to continue to run a spread attack, but his version may have a few more runs mixed in.
“We’re going to put a little more emphasis on our running game,” McCall said, “but continue to build off what we’ve been doing.
“We want to take advantage of our athletes: Rico (Richardson), E.J. Drewery, Tommy Gooden, Rakeem Sims … we’re going to take advantage of all those guys, put the ball in our play makers hands and let them help Dedric.”