New Citadel coach Brent Thompson hits ground running

Jeff Hartsell Postandcourier.com
Jan 20 2016

The Citadel held its news conference to introduce new football coach Brent Thompson at 9 a.m. Wednesday, the better to facilitate Thompson’s schedule. He wanted to get out on the road and recruit. Thompson, 39, is eager to sustain the momentum that former coach Mike Houston generated over the past two seasons, culminating in a 9-4 record and Southern Conference title in 2015. Thompson was offensive coordinator for those teams, following Houston to The Citadel from Lenoir-Rhyne. Before he hit the recruiting trail, Thompson laid out some of his plans for the Bulldogs:

Recruiting
Thompson said he plans to sign about 17 players on signing day, Feb. 3. Five of the nine prospects who visited last weekend committed to The Citadel, giving the Bulldogs about 10-12 commitments “We need to reel in some of our offers that are out there right now,” he said. “But I think in the next two weeks, we’ll be pretty darn close. And If we’re not, we’ll just hang out and see what comes down the line. Something always happens after signing day.”

The offense
Led by quarterback Dominique Allen, Thompson’s triple-option offense led the SoCon in rushing with 346.9 yards per game last year. “I controlled Dom a little bit, and kind of loosened the reins on him toward the end of the year,” Thompson said. “I thought he was pretty good and we need to take the reins off him a little bit more. He’s done a great job and if he trains hard this summer, he’ll be even better next year. “I want to throw it more, and that was more me than him last year. I said, ‘Let’s take care of the ball, we’re playing good defense, and let’s just not make a mistake.’ I think we need to take more shots down the field, and that can happen with an older quarterback.”

Maurice Drayton
Thompson and defensive coordinator Maurice Drayton were the two candidates for the head coaching job, but only one could get it. Thompson said Drayton, a 1998 Citadel graduate, will stay on as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. “I’ve never been through a situation like that,” Thompson said. “I think we had a good understanding of the process and we communicated through the whole process. Maurice is an awesome guy and has done a tremendous job here. He’s well respected in The Citadel community, and I’m glad to have him.”

Coaching staff
Thompson needs to replace himself at offensive coordinator, and outside linebackers coach Tripp Weaver is headed to James Madison to join Houston. “I’ve got a couple of guys in mind for offensive coordinator,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot of interest, but I think I’m going to wait and see. We will consider some guys on staff. “As far as play-calling, I will probably let (the new coordinator) call it in the spring and see how well we do. Everything will run through me during the games.”

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