Luke Getsy Eager to Help the “Top Dawg” on Mississippi State Coaching Staff

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) – If there is one common thread among the new Mississippi State football assistant coaching staff, it’s their affinity to work with a man and a leader like Joe Moorhead.

The Bulldogs’ new offensive staff was formally introduced in a press conference on Wednesday and each coach expressed their enthusiasm for the first-year MSU head coach, while setting a course for the program’s first SEC Championship since 1941.

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“I wasn’t going to leave a great man and not go work for another great man,” said offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who coached on Mike McCarthy’s Green Bay Packers staff in 2017. “I truly believe in Joe Moorhead, the person, first, and secondly, his leadership skills and abilities. I truly believe in him.”

Moorhead’s offensive staff is made up of Getsy, assistant head coach/run game coordinator/running backs coach Charles Huff, pass game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Andrew Breiner, associate head coach/tight ends coach Mark Hudspeth and offensive line coach Marcus Johnson.

Breiner and Hudspeth are two former head coaches, while Getsy joined the Bulldogs after a terrific stint as the Packers’ wide receivers coach. Huff was Moorhead’s first hire and played a pivotal role in December recruiting. Johnson, a former NFL offensive lineman, returns to his home state after spending seven seasons as an assistant coach at Duke.

The group wrapped up a hectic first month of recruiting travel and hauled in its first recruiting class last week, one that was ranked as high as No. 25 by Rivals.com. Their focus now turns to offensive installation over the next month, and they will get plenty of time to do it as the Bulldogs open spring practice on Tuesday, March 20.

“I’ve had a great time getting to know all those guys in that offensive room,” Getsy said. “I think we have a very talented group of men, and I’m extremely excited about working with all those guys. They’re talented, they communicate, and I think what’s most important is that we all have one vision to make this place special.”

State will practice for five straight weeks after spring break and culminate spring ball with the Maroon and White Game on Saturday, April 21 in Davis Wade Stadium. Kickoff is 3 p.m. CT and admission is free.

The Bulldogs’ defensive staff will meet with members of the media next week.

For more information on the Bulldogs, follow the MSU football team on Twitter, like them on Facebook and join them on Instagram by searching for “HailStateFB.” All-access coverage is also available on SnapChat by searching for “HailStateSnap.

Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Luke Getsy

Opening statement…

“I’m extremely excited to be here. It truly is an honor and a privilege to one, be at such an unbelievable university, and the opportunity to work with a great man, someone who has been very influential in my life, not only as a player but as a coach. I’m extremely excited about the opportunity. Any time you get the opportunity to come to this conference, the best in college football, it’s a great opportunity. I’m very excited and looking forward to the opportunity. My family’s excited to move down here. They’re getting down here in about two weeks. We’ll be off and running. The community has been fabulous – everything I’ve expected and more. I’m looking forward to getting to know each one of you and everyone in the community as well.”

On what made him interested in this job…

“I’ll work backwards. The opportunity to be in the best conference in all of football is an exciting opportunity and challenge. Mississippi State is a university I’ve watched my entire life and have an affiliation with and excitement with SEC football. It’s all an exciting brand of football, coming from the National Football League where there’s SEC players all over the place. The opportunity to come back and work with Joe (Moorhead) was definitely the No. 1 thing for me. He is very influential in my life. When I was getting recruited as a young quarterback in high school to the University of Pittsburgh, Joe was a graduate assistant there. Our relationship started way back then. I got the opportunity to play for him at Akron. I had the opportunity to coach for him in my first coaching job I ever had. The relationship goes way back. The success that he’s had, the evolution of his offense from where it was when we were back at Akron in 2008 to where it is now is something I wanted to get around, learn more from and be a part of as well. Hopefully with the experiences I had, I can add to it.”

On the difficulty of the decision to leave the Green Bay Packers…

“The Green Bay Packers is one of the best organizations, if not the best, in all of professional sports. The community there, everyone here would relate really well to. It’s very similar. It’s a college town-like atmosphere within a professional arena. It was tough leaving the community. It was tough leaving that organization. It is as well-run of an organization as there is. It was really hard to leave Mike McCarthy, someone who taught me in four years more than I had learned in my entire career. He’s inspired me to have the desire to be a head coach, both with his personality and with his leadership skills. He kind of showed me the way and proved to me that I can be who I am and have a lot of success doing it. I have great regard for him. It was an extremely difficult decision. I’m young enough in my career where opportunities are what I have to look at. Another thing that’s really important to me is I wasn’t going to leave a great man and not go work for another great man. I truly believe in Joe Moorhead, the person, first, and secondly, his leadership skills and abilities.  I truly believe in him. It made the decision to come here easy. It made the decision to leave Green Bay really hard.”

On Moorhead serving as the offensive play-caller…

“It’ll be very similar to where I just came from. The head coach has a lot of responsibilities and a lot of hats to wear. Yes, he’s going to be the play-caller on game days, and it is his offense first and foremost. The importance of the leadership of the offensive coordinator is critical. He’s not going to be able to do everything that he did at Penn State as far as his commitment to the offense, and it’s my responsibility to be his second-hand man, his right-hand man, always there to think alike, act alike and hopefully lead alike.”

On his evaluations of current personnel

“Very little, to be honest. It’s a little bit on purpose on my behalf. I want to give these young men the opportunity to prove their personalities and abilities to me and let me create my own vision of them, rather than listening to somebody else tell me how good or how not so good a player is. I’m very open-minded. I think when you look at our football team, as you walk in that locker room, it’s a very impressive-looking football team. I’m excited about that. I’ve gotten to know the receivers very well – not enough of the rest of the team, but the receivers, I’m extremely excited about. I think they’re all very passionate men. I’m excited to get to know them even more. I think there are a lot of very good young men that we can have a lot of success here with.”

On the duties of offensive staff members …

“Here’s the thing: it’s a collaborative effort. Joe is the lead dog. We are here to support him. We are here to give him every bit of information that we possibly can so he can call the best game every single Saturday. My responsibility is to be in charge of overseeing the whole thing. Each guy has their own responsibilities in specific areas that they have to dominate. That’s the vision of it. Let me just say this, too: I’ve had a great time getting to know all those guys in that offensive room. I think we have a very talented group of men, and I’m extremely excited about working with all those guys. They’re talented, they communicate, and I think what’s most important is that we all have one vision to make this place special. We’re willing to do whatever we have to do to do it. It’s been a great couple months for me working and getting to know those guys.”

On getting back into recruiting after time on the professional circuit…

“Most of my career before going to Green Bay has been college, so it’s not like it’s foreign. Does it take some getting used to? Yes. I’ve got to get back into the Twitter world and all that stuff like that. Most of my career has been in the college game. As far as relating to young men, that’s my profession; that’s what my passion is. That’s what I love to do is to help lead these young men. I’m extremely excited to get to be around these young men and hopefully influence them in positive ways. It’s been exciting. The recruiting part of it has been fun, getting to be around high school coaches. My brother is a high school coach. My two brothers-in-law were high school coaches. My dad was a high school – not football – but he was a high school coach his whole life. It’s something that I truly enjoy being around.”

On having previous experience with Moorhead…

“It’s important. Any time you’re starting fresh – that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re kind of going back to ground-zero, and we’re building from the foundation-up. We’re cleaning things up; we’re making things exactly the way (Moorhead) sees it. We’re all seeing it the exact same way. Any time you have guys who have experience in it, there’s things that I’m able to reflect on. There’s things (Andrew) Breiner’s able to reflect on and (Charles) Huff, as you mentioned. Anybody’s that’s been around the offense – there’s advantages to having that past history that we can reflect on and make really good decisions moving forward about what’s best for the offense.”

On the decision to push back the spring practice start date…

“It’s huge. It’s definitely a big benefit for us. It gives us a bit more time to get to know our players, more importantly than anything else. It gives us a little bit of time to get them prepared so they can go on and have success in the spring. Not starting until March 20 is going to be a big benefit to us so we can have a very successful spring.”

Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator/Running Backs Coach Charles Huff

On the decision to follow Moorhead from Penn State…

“I think it was a tough decision, first of all, a tough decision because I was at a really good spot. What we were doing at Penn State and what we were building there, what we had built over the last four years, was really good. We had a lot of great relationships with Coach (James) Franklin, the players, the community. It was a tough decision to leave, although it was a rewarding decision because it was good that Joe felt that good about me, in my leadership and coaching and recruiting abilities, to make me his first hire. I think that says a lot about what he sees in me, as far as my day-to-day work, as far as my administrative duties, as far as my coaching ability. When someone has that kind of confidence in you, it’s rewarding. But whenever you’re leaving home – whenever you’re somewhere for four years, it’s almost home – it’s tough. But it was good and rewarding that Joe saw and felt that good about me and bringing me along.”

On how soon he was offered the job after Moorhead accepted his position…

“He called me at about 1 a.m. He called me; he and the higher-ups had met somewhere and went through all the details and logistics. He got the job, and he called me at about 1 a.m. and said, ‘I need you here as soon as possible.’ I got offered when he got hired. After talking to him and him explaining to me what he had as a vision, me knowing him as a person, me knowing a little bit about this place and what Coach (Dan) Mullen had done to build it where it is: it was a good, quick transition.”

 

On his time spent with MSU’s current running backs, including Aeris Williams and Kylin Hill…

“We’ve met a couple times, administratively. They’ve come by the office a couple times. We’ve been on the road recruiting a lot, and now we’re kind of getting back. Those guys are special. Those guys want to be great. I have not looked at any film from last year. I’m giving all those guys a clean slate. I don’t think it’s fair to evaluate something that I was not a part of, I was not teaching or I was not installing. I have told them they all have a clean slate. Obviously I’ve heard and seen the stories about how each one of them has some talent, so I’m excited to get them on the field and get them moving around.”

On the first-year success of Moorhead’s offense…

“I think it’s going to come down to us as coaches doing the best we can to keep it simple. Sometimes coaches get a little doctorate-level and get smarter than they really need to be. It’s a simple game; they have 11, we have 11. We try to keep it simple. Coach Moorhead, if you look at what he did installing the offense the first year at Penn State and installing the offense the first year at Fordham, he’s done it before. He’s going to install it on an elementary level and allow the players to expand. I think the one thing about it, although we are switching systems, the learning curve should be easier for (veteran players). It’s not like this is the first time they’ve been in college. Same play, different name is kind of what we talk about. For them, they’re eager; they’re wanting to learn. They’re already in the film room; they’re already going through some things. That shows the maturity of them, understanding, ‘Hey, I’ve got to be able to translate from what I know to what I need to know.’”

On entering a program where players already expect a lot of themselves…

“It’s good. That’s a credit to Coach Mullen and the former staff and the former coaches before Coach Mullen, to get this place to a point to where the expectations are high. I tell people all the time: there’s two ways to take a job. One, the coach gets fired, which means the team’s probably not in good standing. Or, the coach takes another job, which means the team is probably in good standing which got him to the next level. We came in on a ladder, which was good because the team’s in a good spot. Now it’s our job to go from good to great, just the small things. We’re not coming in trying to change the name of the university; we’re not trying to change the name of the stadium. We’re coming in trying to enhance and bring light to the importance of the details that are going to make us go from good to great.”

On joining the program in the middle of the recruiting season…

“I think this was a first for everybody with the early signing day. It was magnified, obviously, because of our new staff. But it was a first for everybody in the country – early signing day, coaching changes when you’re still getting ready for a bowl game and trying to close on guys. The one good thing about what Coach Moorhead did was he came in and he didn’t try to upset the apple cart. He came in; he evaluated the film. We were in a tough situation, and he managed that situation to the best of his ability. We were lucky enough to keep a lot of the 2018 commits, which kind of goes back to what a lot of people always talk about: kids are picking schools for the right reasons. Does the coach have something to do with it? Absolutely – don’t get me wrong. But it says a lot for this community, this fan base and this school that players decided to stay, even after some coaches moved on.”

Associate Head Coach/Tight Ends Coach Mark Hudspeth

On moving back home to Mississippi…

“Well, I have spent a lot of time here in Mississippi. I went to Delta State University, and I had a tour in Mississippi during Dan Mullen’s first couple of years here as well. I have so many friends and family here in this state. I believe any time you have a chance to come home and coach at this level is pretty neat, and you don’t just pass that up.”

On the process of returning to Mississippi State…

“I’m giving full credit to Brad Peterson for recommending me to head coach Joe Moorhead. Brad was able to pull together a meeting for the both of us to get in touch with one another and we hit it off, which was one of the main reasons for coming back. It felt right.”

On what stood out the most about Moorhead’s offense…

“One thing is for sure that you don’t have to see or meet him to know how they did offensively. That’s pretty well documented. He’s very detailed, organized and genuine and has a great vision for our program here at Mississippi State. I just knew that it would be a great situation for me and my family.”

On his takeaways from his time as head coach at Louisiana…

“Any time you are sitting behind that desk for seven years, you learn a lot from dealing with players and the different teams. When you are head coach, you fundraise, recruit and wear so many hats. I had to learn to delegate and trust my staff.”

Offensive Line Coach Marcus Johnson

On the difficulty of leaving Duke…

“It was absolutely difficult to leave due to the relationships that were built. Head coach David Cutcliffe was like a father figure in my life and a mentor. I’ve known him since I was 16 years old, played for him for five years and worked seven years for that man. It’s tough to walk away, but at some point you have to leave the nest and continue to grow, which is one of reasons I’m here right now at Mississippi State University.”

On the hiring process with Moorhead…

“I was recruiting for Duke in Alabama at the time when Coach Huff reached out to me, asking about my interest in the position here at Mississippi State. I told him that it would be awesome to be able to come back home where my friends and family are and that it’d be a huge opportunity. Due to the relationships that formed while I was at Duke, I knew it would be a tough decision. After thinking for a couple of days, I realized that it was the right move.”

Pass Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Andrew Breiner

On transitioning to life in Starkville…

“I’ve really enjoyed it. I grew up in Dallas, so I’ve had a taste of the south before. My wife is a New Englander, so this is very new to her. It’s a neat college town. I’m really happy to be somewhere where the football program means so much to everyone in the community. That’s the exciting part.”

On his decision to take the coaching position…

“As you are going to hear everyone say, the opportunity to be with coach [Joe] Moorhead was No. 1 [in make the decision to take the job]. No. 2 was getting the chance to get down to the SEC, specifically the SEC West. For me, to get back to the quarterback room and work with those guys. Those three factors made it an easier decision to leave.”

On the emphasis of regional ties when it comes to recruiting…

“I think it is understandable why the public thinks that. Credit to the recruiting staff that we have here. When we got here those without the southern recruiting ties were able to bridge that gap with our recruiting staff between us, the high school coaches, prospects and their families. We’re all football coaches. We’ve all sat in living rooms. We’ve all gone into high schools. We all relate to 17 and 18-year-old kids. It’s just doing it in a different part of the country. As you’ll find with Coach Moorhead and hopefully most of us, we’re genuine people. People can respect and connect with that.”

On Jalen Mayden…

“With the quarterback position and knowing how intimate that relationship is between a quarterback and a quarterback coach and the amount of time we spent together, it was important for us to connect quickly. We connected over our love of football and love of the quarterback position. That’s one of the things I enjoy talking about with Jalen. There’s not a conversation that we’re on the phone and we’re not talking about something technical or schematic football-wise. The young man loves ball. The other thing that help, Jalen is from the same area in Texas that I grew up in. His mom actually taught at the elementary school that I went to, so that personal side help connect quickly.”

On where Jalen Mayden fits into the offense…

“He is a young man that has great athleticism. He has the ability to throw the football. He is very intelligent, which means he is going to make the right decisions consistently. I think Jalen fits very well.”

On his evaluation of Keytaon Thompson and Nick Fitzgerald…

“We are incredibly excited. Taking over a situation and have guys that fit what you have schematically, not everybody gets that when they take over a program. Both Nick and Keytaon possess the skill sets that we look for at the quarterback position.”

On Nick Fitzgerald’s rehab progress…

“Nick is doing a great job along with our sports medicine and strength and conditioning staffs making progress. The goal is for him to have some type of limited participation in the spring. Understandably, we’re going to be cautious with his return to play. The plan is to have him back full-go when we start in August.”

On building his relationships with Nick Fitzgerald and Keytaon Thompson…

“It’s been more sit down and get to talk to them and get to know them to get an idea of where they are at in their maturation as a quarterback. I’ve been really impressed with how much they know about the game of football. I credit to their previous quarterback coaches and Coach [Dan] Mullen, who is a quarterback guy. These guys are well schooled in ball.”

On his role in Coach Moorhead’s offense…

“My job is to support coach [Luke] Getsy and to support Coach Moorhead. I will do that by preparing the quarterbacks. We will all participate in the game planning process. We will take that game plan, and it is going to be my job to install that with the quarterbacks and make sure that they understand exactly what their responsibilities are and ultimately make the right decisions consistently.”

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