ALBANY, N.Y. -- There are more changes on the way for the University at Albany football team as they begin preparing for the upcoming season. With 21 new recruits, a new stadium and a shift into a new conference, it's no surprise that coaching staff changes have subsequently followed.
Head Coach Bob Ford announced Friday that former defensive coordinator Mike Simpson will be stepping down from the position he held for 27 seasons. Simpson has three decades of experience as a defensive coach, two of which were at the coordinator position.
With the graduation of four exceptional linebackers, including all-conference selection Jon Morgan, the Great Danes look to quickly rebuild, making Simpson the ideal candidate to refocus his and the defensive line's efforts on the development of some of the team's young linebackers.
"We had one of our most veteran groups graduate, numbers- wise, last season, and we will have one of the youngest groups on the field in a long time," Simpson said.
Simpson added that the incoming class seems to be composed of solid additions on which to begin the rebuilding process. He said they are a talented group of freshman, making the staff confident about where they stand heading into a landmark season.
We graduated a pretty good core of linebackers with a ton of playing experience,"said Head Coach Bob Ford. "We are now turning to a younger, pretty talented group of kids, but not with many battle scars on them. Mike will step in and take those duties over, a little more undivided than he has in the past."
Filling Simpson's position, Drew Christ will also be shifting his efforts in the upcoming year. After seven seasons in UAlbany's program, two as a member of Ford's coaching staff, the former defensive backs coach will assume the role of defensive coordinator.
Christ is no stranger to the defensive coordinator position, having previously served the role at the University of Rochester. Christ also spent three years as a secondary coach under Al Bagnoli at the University of Pennsylvania.
"We're stepping up to a new challenge, a new league and so forth, and I'm excited to get ready,"Christ said. "Our expectations haven't changed. We're moving around the staff a little bit, but our expectations are to be able to stop the run game, play good defense, and get off the field and put our offense in a position to score."