East Carolina football head coach Ruffin McNeill announced Friday afternoon in a press conference that offensive line coach Brandon Jones has taken the same position at the University of California, Berkley. He will work under head coach Sonny Dykes—a former Texas Tech coach—and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin.
Jones became a member of McNeill’s coaching staff in 2010 and was an important factor in ECU’s successive record-setting offensive performances in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Center Taylor Hudson was named first-team all-conference honors. Tackle Ike Harris and guard J.T. Boyd both got second-team selections.
“When people come after our coaches, it’s a sign of the success of the program and the university,” said McNeill during the press conference.
ECU’s offense passed for 4,835 yards this past season and 4,265 yards the season before. Jones’ linemen played an important role by protecting Shane Carden. In addition to the three players he coached to all-conference honors last season, he also guided three players to all-Conference USA honors in 2013-14—including first-team honors for guard Will Simmons.
Jones was integral in incorporating the new spread offense when McNeill took the reins in 2010. In 2010, with the help of the returning Willie Smith, Cory Dowless and D.J. Scott, Jones’ linemen helped the Pirates burst onto the scene as one of the country’s most potent offenses. On the stat sheet, ECU ranked fifth in red-zone efficiency, eighth in passing offense and 16th in scoring offense.
Much like many of the other members of McNeill’s coaching staff, Jones arrived with experience at Texas Tech. In his two years as an offensive assistant, the Red Raiders amassed an 18-6 record and competed in two bowl games—the Gator Bowl in 2007 and the Cotton Bowl in 2008.
As a player for the Red Raiders, Jones established himself as one of the nation’s best centers. He was a candidate for the Rimington Award as FBS’s best center and, as a senior, was named the team’s most improved player.
“Everybody who has been hired and will be hired understands, they are familiar with the offense and they understand it,” said McNeill regarding filling Jones’ role.