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Heel Tough Blog: Tar Heels Find Phil Longo's Replacement in 26-Year Veteran

Phelan M. Ebenhack- AP Photo

The Tar Heels announced the hire of a new offensive coordinator on Thursday morning, just eight days after the departure of Phil Longo for Wisconsin. In a release put out shortly after 11:00 AM, the Tar Heels revealed that Chip Lindsey will be the team’s new offensive coordinator, while Lonnie Galloway has been tabbed as the team’s passing game coordinator and John Lilly the team’s run game coordinator.

Lindsey comes to Chapel Hill as a 26-year coaching veteran, spending six of those as an offensive coordinator. He comes over from Central Florida after just one season with Gus Malzahn, who he also coached under at Auburn. This season, he led the Knights's offense to some nice success, finishing 24th in the nation in points per game (34.4), 11th in yards per game (480.6) and eighth in rushing yards per game (236.1). The ground game was clearly the strength of the unit, as they ran for more than 200 yards in nine of the team’s thirteen games this season. One of the biggest issues, though, is that he did not call plays this season.

Prior to his time in Orlando, Lindsey was the head coach at Troy for three years, where he posted a 15-19 record. The Trojans' offense had some nice success early in the tenure but had a steep decline over the course of his three seasons. The team went from averaging 33.8 points per game, 456.3 yards per game and 313.2 passing yards per game in his first season to just 22.8 points per game, 336.4 yards per game and 237.5 passing yards per game in his final season.

His most successful stint as an offensive coordinator came in his two seasons at Auburn. While on the plains, Lindsey’s offenses averaged 32.4 point per game, 420.8 yards per game and 192.9 rushing yards per game over those two seasons. The issue is, just like at Central Florida this past season, he did not call plays for the Tigers the entire time there.

He had a solid one year stint at Arizona State in 2016, where his offense averaged 33.3 points and finished 11th in red zone efficiency. He had a pretty successful stint with Southern Miss in 2014 and 2015, helping turn the Eagles back in the right direction and getting them to the Conference USA Championship Game in 2015. That 2015 team finished 13th in the country in scoring offense (39.9) and 12th in total offense (509.5) and passing offense (329.7).

One thing that he does have in his favor is the development of quarterbacks. He was an integral part of the development of Nick Mullens and Jarrett Stidham, who both have established themselves as NFL quarterbacks, and he did some good things again this season with John Rhys Plumlee and Mickey Keene. Hopefully he can work some magic with Drake Maye, who was very complimentary of the hire this afternoon.

This is a hire that certainly isn’t as exciting as the names that originally surfaced after Longo’s departure. Lindsey has plenty of experience, but he has similar issues in the red zone to Longo and his offenses aren’t nearly as explosive. Maye’s endorsement of the move is definitely encouraging, but this hire is tough to be overly inspired by.


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