Bryan Cole / The Collegian
Bulldog assistants are flip-flopping positions, but knowledge of the game will transfer
Tim Skipper and Will Plemons both have one thing in common, and itâ€™s not the fact that theyâ€™re on the defensive coaching staff for Fresno State football.
Both coaches began their careers on the opposite side of the ball.
Before becoming the defensive line coach, Plemons started his career with the tight ends and offensive line at Cal Lutheran from 1998-2002.
â€œThere are some steps you have to learn, but attitude and technique is where you get groomed as a defensive line coach,â€ Plemons said. â€œThereâ€™s some things you got to do differently on that side of the ball.â€
Plemons got his first taste of coaching the defense in 2002, when he was named the defensive line coach for the Kingsmen.
He joined Fresno State in 2004 where he worked alongside Kerry Locklin for two seasons.
Bryan Cole / The Collegian
Locklin has now moved on to the New York Jets, but played a significant role in tutoring Plemons.
â€œKerry Locklin was a good coach and I learned a lot from him,â€ Plemons said. â€œI think heâ€™s going to do well at the next level. I really enjoyed the way he went about his business.â€
So far during spring practice, defensive end Chris Carter has liked what Plemons is teaching the line. Carter is transitioning from linebacker to the outside edge rusher.
â€œI think heâ€™s doing great to be honest with you,â€ Carter said. â€œHe works very hard with us. Heâ€™s very patient with us. He understands the correct technique. He didnâ€™t just hear about how to do it from someone else. He really knows how to do it and how to teach it.â€
Carter believes that the teaching from Plemons is a must during spring practice, as he and the linemen look to push themselves for the 2009 season.
â€œI think thatâ€™s the best thing for us on the defensive line,â€ Carter said. â€œI feel that as a defensive line we really comprehend with him. He pushes us and he makes us want to push ourselves to work harder.â€
One of those things Plemons is preaching to Carter and the defense, is the little things about the line, which includes getting off of the football after itâ€™s snapped.
â€œHe makes us pay attention to the little things,â€ Carter said. â€œThe little things make big plays and thatâ€™s what creates a pass rush.â€
For Tim Skipper, he made his living on the Fresno State football field stopping running backs in their tracks as a former linebacker.
But for the first two years of his coaching career, he had to help coach the ground game as the running backs coach.
Now heâ€™s back on defense, coaching the position that made him an All-WAC performer and a Dick Butkus award finalist.
â€œI pretty much had to go back to what Iâ€™ve always known,â€ Skipper said. â€œIt was harder for me to transition to the running back spot because I never played it or coached it. Moving back to linebacker is something Iâ€™m very familiar with, so itâ€™s a smooth transition.â€
Not only is it a comfortable move for Skipper, but he gets to teach the likes of Ben Jacobs, Nico Herron and the rest of the linebackers everything he learned from his playing days.
â€œI give them everything I know,â€ Skipper said. â€œThatâ€™s all I do. I donâ€™t hold anything back. Every little thing I know, I give it to them and hopefully it works out on the field.â€
Skipper actually doesnâ€™t have a preference with where he coaches â€“ he just enjoyment with what he does and hopes it leads to victories for his team.
â€œI just like coaching man,â€ Skipper said. â€œFootball is football. Running back and linebacker is very similar, you try to find an open hole and you fill it. I like the game and I like winning. I donâ€™t care what Iâ€™m doing, I just want to win.â€