Bodie Reeder sat with Utah State football coach Gary Andersen and talked about basketball.
Andersen was interviewing Reeder for the offensive coordinator job left vacant by Mike Sanford, who took a position at the University of Minnesota. But in describing how he likes to run an offense, Reeder used an analogy from his days playing prep hoops.
“If I was guarding a guy that came from the opening tip going a million miles an hour, my mind and my body sped up to his pace,” Reeder said. “But if I was going to guard a guy that was constantly changing pace — he was herky-jerky, he was going to shuffle-step me — that was tough. I think that plays in the hands of the offense, if they can change the pace of the game.”
That exchange was just one of the reasons Andersen hired Reeder, who was officially introduced last week as USU’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Reeder’s hire is part of a restructure of the coaching staff that included Frank Maile and Stacy Collins becoming co-defensive coordinators.
Reeder, once a prolific quarterback at Eastern Illinois University and Mahomet-Seymour High School, last coached at North Texas University — the same school the Aggies thumped in the 2018 New Mexico Bowl.
That bowl game was played as Reeder wrapped up his second successful season at Eastern Washington, where he manned one of the most prolific attacks in the Football Bowl Subdivision. He then moved on to North Texas, where Mean Green coach Seth Littrell fired him and defensive coordinator Troy Reffett after just one season. He said he was attracted to Utah State and Andersen’s history of success.
“Talking to people in the profession, there’s not a better guy to work for,” Reeder said. “I’ve had some connections on staff, guys that I knew prior, and I knew it was a great group of guys to come in and blend with. Outside looking in, a program like this is tough, and they work hard and earn every inch that they get. That’s the type of program that I want to be a part of.”
Andersen descried Reeder as “a grinder” and was impressed with his success at every stop in his coaching career.
“We were looking for somebody that is a great quarterback teacher, can run a room, can be the general manager of the offense and is tough,” Andersen said. “That’s what we’ve got.”
Reeder’s offensive vision is similar to what Andersen said he wants to see in the 2020 version of the Aggies: different paces. Reeder summed up his vision by calling it a “multiple-pace, multiple-personnel offense.”
“We’re going to make sure that we have different schemes that can attack the defense from sideline to sideline and vertically down the field,”Reeder said.
Reeder’s Eastern Washington averaged 43.1 points per game in 2018 under Reeder, with 255.9 rushing yards and 272.3 passing yards. Under Sanford, the Aggies averaged only 29.2 points and 152.2 rushing yards per game.
For the past two seasons, Utah State has been known for pushing the pace on offense, oftentimes calling plays without using a huddle. There will be some speed under Reeder, but it won’t be the team’s top priority.
“I think that we’re going to have the ability to go fast, but we’re going to dictate the pace of play,” Reeder said. "We’re going to make sure that we’re playing complementary football and taking care of everyone in the locker room and making sure that we can change speeds.”
With Reeder in the fold and the shakeup he made to the staff, Andersen believes he will be a more effective head coach next season. And together, he said, they’re ready.
“I promise this whole staff is all-in on this and we’re ready for the battles that are ahead of us,” Andersen said.