you say "cleaning house"?
Gone are last year's defensive coordinator,
QB/WR coach, FB/LB coach, secondary coach and equipment manager.
You almost get the idea that Doug Kay wasn't very happy with
his 2000 coaching staff.
If that's the case -- and signs would seem to point to it being
the case -- Kay was well within his rights to be a little upset.
Playcalling cost the Cobras several games in 2000, which hurts even more
acutely when you finish only a game or two out of the playoffs.
responsible for hiring this year's version of the Cobras coaching staff
deserves kudos on several fronts.
Gerald Carr, last year's QB and WR coach, had coaching experience
both at the college level and in the NFL. Unfortunately, he was coaching
in the AFL, and his inexperience with the Arena game often showed.
As head coach with the Augusta Stallions in 2000, Mike Neu
was named af2 Coach of the Year after leading the Stallions to a 14-4 record
and within one game of the ArenaCup. And before that, he served as
quarterback coach and offensive coordinator for the Nashville Kats; he
also has AFL playing experience at QB on his resume.
in other words, that Kay, a defensively-minded coach, will have an experienced
AFL hand calling the offensive plays and working with Fred McNair
and company. That fact alone should give the Cobras at least one
more win this season.
Lee Johnson was cut loose as coordinator after a year in
which that half of the Cobras' game was hardly spectacular. Johnson
had defensive coordinator experience in the CFL and playing experience
in the NFL, CFL and AFL, but his replacement has even stronger credentials.
Since Kay did not hire a coach to fill Johson's job, it's clear that Kay
himself wants more personal control over the defense, which should be for
the better. Kay has been the defensive coordinator on two ArenaBowl
champions (Tampa Bay in 1993 and Arizona in 1997), and has, in all, six
years of experience in that coaching capacity. As long as his attention
isn't too distracted from the team as a whole, this move will have good
shoulder some of the position coaching load will be former Cobras OL/DL
Emerson Martin, and Duke receivers coach Ken Matous.
The hiring of Martin, who retired from playing to take the job, marks a
good first step toward establishing a sense of continuity and loyalty on
the coaching staff. Martin will be helped by his familiarity with
many of the Cobras' players and by his playing experience at the NFL, NFL
Europe and AFL levels. Matous, most recently the receivers coach
at Duke, has a wealth of coaching experience that Bobby Houston,
who filled the position last year, did not. Also, incidentally, the
addition of Matous means that the Cobras now have a player or coach with
ties to nearly every major college in the state: N.C. State, UNC, Duke,
Appalachian, N.C. Central, Wake Forest, East Carolina and Western Carolina
Houston's other role, strength coach, will be... drum roll please... CZ
Forum regular Chris Hendley. He will obviously have
a huge impact on the team's success, for, finally, the combined wisdom
of CobraZone readers will be heard by the coaching staff -- well, by at
least one member anyway. Seriously, best of luck to Chris.
The 2001 Cobras
coaches seem to have something for everyone: a nod to AFL experience, a
nod to Cobras players, a nod to local connections and a nod to us, CobraZone.
Now, they'll need to put it all together into a big something for the fans
-- a winning team.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Chris, but this one has to go to the Neu guy at offensive coordinator (the
headline writers, by the way, will have a ball with that name)
Worst move: Keeping
Carr as long as the team did
Keep your eye on:
Just how strong and conditioned will the Cobras be?
NEW FACES: MIKE
af2 Coach of the
Year Mike Neu (seen here with Aaron Sparrow of the Augusta Stallions) joins
the staff as Offensive Coordinator.
|Mike Neu (Off.
Coord.), Ken Matous (FB/LB), Emerson Martin (OL/DL), Chris Hendley (strength/cond.),
|Gerald Carr (QB/WR),
Bobby Houston (FB/LB), Lee Johnson (Def. Coord.), Bruce Plummer (Sec.)
|Doug Kay (head
What do you think?
Discuss the Cobras' coaching staff
in the Rating
the Roster thread of the CZ Forum.