Assistant Coaches Promoted, Change Duties

Following the departure of Dan Cozzetto to the University of Washington, a series of internal coaching changes have taken place. The most notable one is the promotion of Matt Lubick to assistant head coach. Other changes include Jamie Christian being moved to be special teams coordinator and tight ends coach, and graduate assistant Bryce Erickson assuming the running backs coach duties.

In terms of recruiting, Cozzetto who is leaving to become the Huskies' offensive coordinator and/or offensive line coach (there has been no official announcement as of yet), vacated the western part of Metro Phoenix, Southern Arizona and Nevada. Defensive line coach Grady Stretz, who until now recruited the eastern part of Metro Phoenix and San Diego, will now be the primary in-state recruiter.

The San Diego area will now be the recruiting territory of the younger Erickson, who will also assist Lubick in the Metro Los Angeles area. Lubick, who will continue to assume his recruiting coordinator and safeties coach responsibilities, will also add Nevada to his recruiting area. Cornerbacks coach Greg Burns, who recruited Dallas while working at Kansas State, will now have that recruiting region.

"Matt has done a lot of things for us, and has done administrative things for me already," said Arizona State had coach Dennis Erickson on Saturday afternoon. "So I gave him the title so I can keep him and not have other schools try and hire him. Jamie was already coaching all the special teams units besides punt, and coached tight ends before so that will be an easy move.

Bryce Erickson was the quarterbacks and offensive coordinator at New Mexico Highlands between the years 2004-06 and joined the Sun Devil coaching staff in 2007.

"When Danny (Cozzetto) left I decided to take his salary and give it to some of the (coaches) in our place so won't lose anymore," said the ASU head coach "And then it was a no-brainer decision for me to hire Bryce. He knows the game, and has been around it for a while. He knows what we're doing, he's energetic and I felt that I needed to interject some of that. He's a good recruiter for us. I'm not going to hire anybody if I don't think he can help us. This was the best move for our program." The energy that the ASU head coach talked about was impossible to ignore in Bryce Erickson's voice when he talked about his new role.

"I'm so excited I can't even express it to you," said the younger Erickson. "His (Cozzetto's) departure caught everyone off guard. My father and I always talked about wanting to coach together down the road, and when we knew coach Cozzetto was leaving I called my father that night and told him that him I didn't want him to feel pressured or obligated to hire me and that he should do what's best for the university.

"He offered me the job Friday afternoon, and I've had a smile on my face very since then and I haven't been able to sleep either."

The term ‘gym rat' is usually reserved to the sport of basketball, but if a similar term would be used for football dedication it would certainly describe the younger Erickson as well.

"It's definitely a positive for me being around this life style my whole life," he said. "when I was younger I kind of deterred away from being a coach because my mother told me that I'd probably never get married if I decided to coach.

"So I went and did my own thing for a while, but when I got my first job at New Mexico Highlands and when someone called me ‘coach' for the first time it hit me that I should have been doing this for a long time. It's in my blood and this is something that I've been wanting to do for a long time. I've been blessed the last two years to be a graduate assistant at ASU and learning from great coaches."

Erickson's affinity for the school is so great, that he stated that even if his father left Tempe that he would still want to remain on the Sun Devil staff.

"This is such a great school," he stated. "From President Crow, to Lisa Love this is such a great program. I'm so happy to be a part of this because I know the direction that we're heading in. All of us, players and coaches, have a bad taste in our mouth from last year and we all can't wait to get out there in spring football.

"The thing I can't wait for is to go on the road recruiting. I consider myself a very charismatic person and being young myself (age 34) I can really relate to this generation very well and have positive relationships with them. I'm full of energy right now and hungry to go out and compete on the field on Saturdays and also on the recruiting road to bring the best players that fit our football program."

Erickson said that initially he will shadow Lubick, considered one of the best recruiters in all of college football, to learn the recruiting craft, and add a little of his own personality when he he's recruiting on his own.

Just like other positions on the team in 2008, the running backs unit did for the most part under perform. Nonetheless, Erickson is excited about the depth of this group, as well as the new additions that are scheduled to arrive in the fall.

"I feel that I'm blessed because coach Christian has done such a great job with those running backs," Erickson said. "I'm not going to change a lot as far as the drills we do and ideology that we have. I have a great group of guys coming back with (Shaun) DeWitty, Dimitri (Nance), and Ryan Bass has all the potential in the world. James Morrison who's coming off an injury is looking to be close to 100%. I'm looking forward to developing a trustworthy relationship with them and making sure that we do everything we need to do in the spring so we can be a better football team in the fall.

"The new guys that we have coming in, Marcus Washington, Jamal Miles and Cameron Marshall, I'm real excited about them because they bring diverse running styles. Depending on where they are in their progression, each and every one of them has a chance to compete for playing time. We know we have to get better in the running game because it's such a big part of our offense. I feel that we have a great stable of running backs and we're ready to go."


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