6 Sun Belt teams will have a new offensive coordinator this season

Monroe, LA (The News-Star) - It didn't take long for ULM defensive coordinator Troy Reffett to lose his new kid on the block status.

After one year under head coach Charlie Weatherbie, Reffett got introduced to a new coaching staff after Todd Berry took over this past offseason.

He's not even the new kid in the conference after a vast turnover this past offseason.

Six of the nine Sun Belt teams will be playing this season with new offensive coordinators, which makes this summer even more difficult for Reffett than his first year in Monroe.

"When you have a new offensive coordinator in the conference, it decreases the amount of summer breakdown that you can do because you don't have the previous game from the previous year to study, and you may or may not have the resources to go back and get film from where they were at their previous job," Reffett said. "In situations like that, you try to study the personnel hard and try to understand what his overall offensive philosophy is and where he came from."

Reffett has already faced two of the new offensive coordinators in the conference during his previous tenure at New Mexico.

Middle Tennessee coordinator Mike Schultz coached at TCU for 11 years before moving on to Illinois last year.

He replaces Tony Franklin, who joined the new staff at Louisiana Tech under head coach Sonny Dykes.

"Middle Tennessee has the best quarterback in the conference, so they're probably going to change a lot," Reffett said. "Still Mike Schultz is going to come in and tweak some things and put his stamp on the offense."

Reffett also faced North Texas' new offensive coordinator Mike Canales when he was at Arizona from 2004-06.

Canales replaces Todd Ford, who spent three years with head coach Todd Dodge and the Mean Green.

By the time Middle Tennessee and North Texas come around on the schedule in Week 8 and Week 12, there will be plenty of game film for Reffett to study.

However, the Warhawks open the conference portion of their season in Week 3 against Arkansas State, who also has a new coordinator in Hugh Freeze.

"We might not get any film from that year," Refffett said. "They open up and play two games prior to us and probably won't get that game because we haven't played a game so there won't be film exchange. He (Freeze) comes from Lambuth University so that makes it difficult to get film so it makes it hard to do a preseason scouting report."

Western Kentucky's philosophy will be completely different with the hiring of new head coach Willie Taggart. Troy coordinator Neil Brown left to take the same job at Texas Tech, but head coach Larry Blakeney promoted from within promoting receivers coach Kenny Edenfield.

"That will probably keep them running the same overall scheme, but the guy who's coming in there's always going to be things he wanted to do or things he did in the past," Reffett said. "They lost one of the top quarterbacks in the conference last year (in Levi Brown) so you got to look at how that's going to affect them this year."

Florida International coach Mario Cristobal is completely changing the look of his football team this season with both a new offensive and defensive coordinator.

Scott Saterfield takes over the play calling duties this year after one year at Toledo.

"I don't think people understand how good the talent level is in this conference," Reffett said. "Last year it had more draft picks ever in the history of the conference. Some of the best receivers I've ever faced come out of this conference. There's very, very good quarterbacks that we faced week in and week out.

"There's a lot of parity which you don't realize until you play everybody and see how close a lot of these teams are. Everybody feels good about their chances to win it, and that's exciting."

ULM is the sixth and final Sun Belt school to hire a new offensive coordinator. Berry's first action of business upon taking the head coaching job was bringing back Steve Farmer to head the offense, in addition to retaining Reffett.