TUCSON, Ariz. — Tyson Summers’ departure took nearly everyone around the CSU football program by surprise.
Not the fact that he got offered a head coaching job, but simply how fast it all happened. One day he was CSU’s defensive coordinator, and the next he was the head coach at Georgia Southern, which sits about 140 miles from his hometown of Tifton, Georgia.
His departure, which came in the middle of preparations for CSU’s matchup with Nevada in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, left a hole in CSU’s coaching staff with just nine days — four of which the team had off — until the Rams and Wolf Pack faced off in Tucson.
While who will be the Rams’ defensive coordinator going forward after the game is still up in the air, the decision to name linebackers coach Marty English the interim DC seemed like a no-brainer to head coach Mike Bobo.
English, who served alongside Al Simmons as the Rams’ co-defensive coordinator under Jim McElwain, had coached every single starter on CSU’s defense and recruited a handful of them to the university.
Earlier this year, junior linebacker Kevin Davis said that having English on staff made the transition under Summers easier because he could relay the schemes, coverages and blitz packages in a way that players could understand based on their experience under him as a defensive coordinator.
Naturally, it seemed like yet another easy transition to move from Summers to English, at least for the time being. According to Deonte Clyburn, CSU’s defensive representative at the bowl game’s media Monday, it’s been smooth sailing for the CSU defense, despite the change in leadership.
“Coach Summers was a great coach and an even better person, and when an opportunity like that presents itself, I feel like everybody has dreams goals, and he couldn’t pass that up,” Clyburn said. “But Coach English is one of those guys that takes the whole defense under his wing, because everybody knows him and he’s been here for awhile. He’s been in this area for a while, so he knows a lot of the players and he’s like a father figure to us all. It makes us play that much harder, for him.”
Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.