Feb. 17, 2010
This is the second in a series of stories about UC's new assistant football coaches. Today: Don Mahoney, offensive line coach. Last week: Steve Stripling, defensive line coach.
By Bo Jessee
Shortly after taking over for Brian Kelly at Central Michigan, Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones hired Don Mahoney to coach his offensive line.
After three years of solid production from his offensive line at Central Michigan, Jones decided to bring Mahoney with him in his latest move to Cincinnati.
"It's a place I'm truly blessed to be at," Mahoney said. "Everybody I've run in to, whether they've coached here or lived here or played for the Bengals, they've all had nothing but great things to say about Cincinnati."
Mahoney coached two all-Mid American Conference selections in each of his three seasons at Central Michigan, including Andrew Hartline who now plays for the Green Bay Packers. Last year, Central Michigan averaged 167.6 rushing yards per game and Mahoney's offensive line allowed just 1.21 sacks per game, which ranked second in the MAC and 21st in the nation.
Jones' teams run a spread offense similar to the one Kelly ran last year, but there are a few key differences the current offensive line will have to adjust to.
More run blocking is the most obvious difference as Central Michigan ran the ball 151 more times than the Bearcats did last year.
"My message to them initially is just be coachable because there will be some similarities and there will be some differences." Mahoney said. "I think the relationship built with them is most important. As time goes on, they will know exactly what I'm about and just what I'm trying to get out of them and they see proof in the results of what's going on."
Mahoney said his first impression of his new offensive line has been great, but blocking for Jones' more balanced offense requires his linemen to possess a more balanced skill set.
"It's a combination of having enough power to change the line of scrimmage and being able to do things in our offense, which is up-tempo, like our screen game and being able to run in space," Mahoney said.
With the area's rich tradition in producing talented offensive linemen, Mahoney said it's important for the future of the program to focus on keeping the top linemen in Cincinnati.
"Its great football here, and like coach Jones said, `Why go anywhere else?' " Mahoney said. "This is the best place to be when you are brought up here in the city of Cincinnati. With the conference and the opportunity and all those things before you there is no reason to go anywhere else."