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Heel Tough Blog: Tar Heels with Massive Addition to Offensive Staff

Kirby Lee- USA Today Sports

The calendar has flipped over to the month of March and while spring practice is just a few days away, the Tar Heels are not quite done adding members to this staff for the 2023 season.

Mack Brown announced in his pre-spring practice press availability on Wednesday that another coaching veteran of the NFL will be joining the staff this season. Clyde Christensen, a veteran of 44 years in the coaching industry, will be a volunteer on the 2023 staff after retiring from the NFL earlier back in January.

Christensen is extremely well respected in the coaching profession for his work at the NFL level with quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. He has been a part of two Super Bowl staff, helping the Colts to win their first since the move to Indianapolis back in 2006 and was the quarterbacks coach for Tom Brady when he took home his seventh and, what appears to be, final ring with the Buccaneers back in 2020.

Christensen spent the last four seasons as the quarterbacks coach with the Buccaneers in what was his second stint with the franchise. While coaching Tom Brady is certainly a much easier job than most, he did help coach him to two outstanding seasons, including the 2021 season where he led the passing yards and passing touchdowns and finished with the highest completion percentage of his career. His 5,316 passing yards were the most of any season of his career, while his 43 passing touchdowns were the second most that he has had in a regular season, trailing only his immaculate 2007 regular season where the Patriots ran the table until the Super Bowl.

Prior to his time with the GOAT, Christensen spent two rather mediocre seasons with the Miami Dolphins under head coach Adam Gase before being relieved of his duties in favor of Dowell Loggains. That stint in Miami was well earned by Christensen, though, because of just how successful he was in Indianapolis. He started with the team as their wide receivers coach back in 2002 and helped to aid in the development of soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer Reggie Wayne and coaching current Hall-of-Famer Marvin Harrison in five of his most successful seasons, including his career year in 2002. That success allowed him to add associate head coach to his title in 2008 before he became the team’s offensive coordinator in 2009.

In his three seasons at the helm of the Colts’ offense, he helped lead the Colts back to the Super Bowl with a unit that ranked top ten in the league in total offense and scoring offense in 2009. The Colts offense was even more lethal the next season where they finished fourth in the league in both total and scoring offense. The offense would stall out in the Wild Card game, though, where they fell to the Jets. His final season in the role, however, was an even bigger disaster. The offense really struggled after the loss of Manning to a neck injury, dropping all the way to 30th in the league in total offense and 28th in scoring offense as the team limped to a brutal 2-14 season.

That offseason, Jim Caldwell was dispatched of by the front office and Chuck Pagano was installed as the team’s new head coach. He brought Bruce Arians with him to coach the offense, pushing Christensen into the quarterback coach role. In his four seasons in that role, he helped develop Andrew Luck into one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

His time in Indianapolis was preceded by his first stint in Tampa Bay where he coached tight ends (1996-98) and quarterbacks (1999-2000) before serving as the offensive coordinator. In his lone season in that role, the offense was rather pedestrian, leading to him being moved on from along with head coach Tony Dungy after the season was over.

His pre-NFL career is also lengthy and included stops at East Carolina, Holy Cross and Clemson as an offensive coordinator and East Tennessee State, Temple and Maryland as a quarterbacks coach.

Christensen will be coming back to Chapel Hill, although things have changed quite a bit since he was a player in the late 70s. He served as the team's backup quarterback to Matt Kupec in 1977 and '78, coming up clutch in a game against Clemson in the 1977 ACC Championship season.

This is an outstanding addition to the staff for Mack Brown and company. While he won’t be able to coach the quarterbacks directly, he will be able to provide some assistance to both Chip Lindsey and Lonnie Galloway. His inclusion to the staff should help in the growth of Drake Maye in his second year as a starter and establish the future of the position behind Maye.


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