To recap, we’ve seen Zac Taylor go from McVay’s first Rams staff to the Cincinnati Bengals — culminating in guiding Cincy to the AFC title last season. Matt LeFleur also parted ways to take the head coaching reins with the Green Bay Packers. Brandon Staley is in his second season with the Chargers after running the defensive show under McVay in 2020. McVay and the Rams then lost Kevin O’Connell to the Minnesota Vikings during the 2022 offseason.
Now, not one but two names on the 2022 Rams staff have been linked to a much publicized head coaching opening…but this one in the world of college football.
Which Rams Assistants Were Named to Prominent Opening?
For those who have followed the happenings of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Power 5 college football scene, Georgia Tech is one of the top P5 openings available.
Various names have sprouted as a possible fit for the Yellow Jackets from current CFB head coaches to rising assistants at that level. But NFL names have also been mentioned…and they’re with the Rams.
Those names written down by Sports Illustrated college football writer and insider Richard Johnson on Tuesday, September 27: Eric Henderson (defensive line/run game coordinator) and Thomas Brown (assistant head coach/running backs coach).
Both have never been head coaches before. However, both indeed bear watching for a number of reasons.
Why Both Could be a Fit for the Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech has fallen on hard times in recent years — hence the necessity for new coaching leadership.
The Yellow Jackets, compiling a 739-509-40 record including three national championships according to Sports Reference, haven’t won more than three games since the 2018 campaign — also the program’s last bowl appearance.
Furthermore, Georgia Tech has only produced three double-digit winning seasons since the 1998 season. The school isn’t just looking for a new head coach, but also a new athletic director as both Geoff Collins (HC) and Todd Stansbury (AD) are gone.
But what would make both Rams assistants an attractable option in what could be a deep pool of coaching candidates? Here’s a breakdown:
Henderson: The 39-year-old again has never been a head coach before let alone have full reins as defensive coordinator. However, he has this advantage — he knows Georgia Tech football having emerged as a First Team All-ACC defensive lineman there which includes producing 7.5 sacks in 2005. Henderson’s last CFB coaching experience was in 2016 with Texas-San Antonio. Although Johnson added how Henderson came close to joining the University of Florida staff with Billy Napier.
Brown: What could be a dilemma for Brown is his ties to the Yellow Jackets’ rival, the Georgia Bulldogs. He racked up 3,018 total yards from scrimmage and scored 25 touchdowns in four seasons in Athens, Georgia. He also never lost to Georgia Tech. Brown, though, is an Atlanta native (where the university is located) and was an offensive coordinator before at the college level from 2016-2018 with the University of Miami. He was also in the running for the Miami Dolphins job before Mike McDaniel took the gig.
Here’s another excerpt from Johnson as to why both could get the Yellow Jackets’ search committee gravitating toward the “Rams House.”
“Like other NFL teams, the Rams aren’t keen on letting coaches walk for lateral moves, but a Power 5 head-coaching job certainly isn’t that. Tech, the coaches’ camps and Rams would have to be fully motivated to get something done, which is where coach Sean McVay comes in,” Johnson wrote.
And as witnessed from the past McVay assistants, many places are now looking for “the next McVay.”
“Either Henderson or Brown would likely lay out a plan to bring McVay’s offense to college, which in simplest terms marries an outside-zone running scheme with a devastating play-action passing game for a QB-friendly balanced attack,” Johnson wrote.
McVay’s tree bears watching if more names get plucked out.