The wait is over. The rumors can stop. The real work can begin.
With the announcement former University of Southern California offensive line coach Mike Summers has been hired for the same position at the University of Florida to replace ousted coach Tim Davis, the Gators have now officially filled their open offensive coaching vacancies joining offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
Fresh off of a win against Fresno State University in the Las Vegas Bowl in the finale of the Lane Kiffin/Ed Orgeron/Clay Helton head coaching regime, Summers a well-known commodity, will be relied upon heavily as he embarks on a mission to help the struggling Gators offense that hasn’t ranked higher than 104th in the past three years.
Summers brings more than 34 years of coaching experience to the University of Florida, including 15 years as an offensive coordinator.
But, Dan, who is Mike Summers? What does he bring to UF? How can he help the Florida offensive line?
I am glad that you asked.
Summers, a graduate of and former defensive back at Georgetown (Ky.) College, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1980 at the University of Kentucky after graduating with his post graduate degree. Summers spent time at the University of Kentucky from 1980-1981 and at the Texas A&M University from 1982-1984 as an offensive line graduate assistant. Summers got his first crack at coaching when he was selected as the offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois University. As the offensive coordinator (1985-1990), 51 school records were broken, along with seven NCAA marks. Included in those school records were most rushing yards and all-purpose yards in a game (Stacy Robinson, 308 – 1990), rushing touchdowns in a season (Stacy Robinson, 19 – 1989 and 1990), and rushing touchdowns in a career (Stacy Robinson, 38 – 1988 – 1990). Five successful seasons at Northern Illinois, earned Summers a job at Oregon State as the Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, a role he had from 1991 – 1995. While at Oregon State, Summers led the Pac-10 in rushing his final four seasons, while being named as the best “Offensive Backfield Coach” in 1993. In 1996, after four seasons at Oregon State, Summers headed to the University of the South (Sewanee) for the next three years under head coach John Windham. At Sewanee, Summers teams struggled going 4-4, 5-4, 2-7 and 6-4. His offense did rank fifth in the nation in rushing and second in the conference in total offense, while also helping Antonio Crook became a Division III All-American at offensive guard in 1999. Summers then moved back to Division I where he went to Oklahoma State as a tight ends coach, and then Ohio in 2001 as the offensive line coach, where he served for two years. Under Summers, Ohio ranked sixth nationally in rushing offense in 2001 and eighth nationally in 2002. Summers then met up with University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino where with whom he would spend the next seven seasons – four at Louisville, one in Atlanta with the National Football League Falcons, and two at the University of Arkansas. At Louisville, Summers helped lead the Cardinals in 2003 and 2004 to school record in total offense, the second nationally ranked offense in 2006, two conference championships, four bowl games, two top-6 rankings by the Associated Press (2004 and 2006), and helped center Eric Wood to became a 1st round NFL draft selection. After one season with the Falcons, Summers coached at Arkansas from 2008-2009. In 2008, Summers helped Jonathan Luigs become a finalist for the Remington trophy in 2008 and helped Arkansas lead the SEC in scoring in 2009. Summers split with Petrino in 2010 where he went to Kentucky to work with Joker Phillips where he served for three seasons. After the Phillips regime ended at Kentucky, Summers agreed to coach the offensive line at Western Kentucky University before spurning the Hilltoppers for the University of Southern California.
In his only year at Southern Cal, Summers’ offensive line ranked 104th in the country in sacks allowed, with 34 for 220 yards (103rd nationally). Further, the Trojans ranked 74th in total offense with 399.1 yards per game – ranking 63rd in rushing offense, 72nd in total offense, and 60th in scoring offense.
With the 34 years of experience, Summers has played in a variety of offensive schemes. Recently, Summers has worked in the up-tempo offense of Bobby Petrino and Lane Kiffin/Ed Oregeron/Clay Helton and the more balanced pro-style of Joker Phillips.
Summers considers himself a teacher and communicator, most importantly. When he was introduced at Kentucky he said of himself, “I think that the way you present the stuff you are trying to communicate, and reaching them on a number of different levels, allows them to understand what you are doing and certainly when the whistle blows, they have to go across the white line. Your ability to communicate and get them to know what to do with a very large man about a foot away from them is important.” Current University of Southern California lineman echoed those sentiments saying this past March, “He likes to take his time to make sure you understand the little things. He teaches you exactly what you need to do.”
Moreover, Summers has been an active recruiter and seems to have had some success. Since 2005 (earliest I could find records), it is evident that Summers has recruited each position with some success. Obviously, Summers has recruited the offensive line mostly, including securing the commitments of the 10th best offensive guard in the class of 2009 Colby Berna, four-star tackle Anthony Oden, and four-star tackle Matt Hall over the past few years. Summers best year as a recruiter was in 2009, where he helped land six players (six 3-stars and three 4-stars) at Arkansas and helped them land a 14th ranked recruiting class their best in the last 12 years.
Let’s take a look at a few of Summer offensive lines and see what they have done well.
In this play you will see the offensive line doing a great job moving the play right, opening a hole on the left. Offensive linemen stay engaged in their blocks, show good form and allow the play to go for extra yardage.
In this play, you see great form across the line as they have one goal – knock the first line of defense to the right and immediately get to the second line of defense.
In this play, Utah State brings eight people to the quarterback. The offensive line does a great job with the initial line of blocking giving the quarterback nearly four seconds in the pocket. Each blocker does exactly what he needs to do before ultimately getting slightly overpowered at the end.
Florida will have five former starters return – D.J. Humphries, Max Garcia, Tyler Moore, Chaz Green and Trenton Brown – with three of those starters with experience at right tackle. Do not be surprised to see Summers move either Brown or Moore inside to fill the right guard position and expect to see Cam Dillard step into the center role.
Summers comes with a lot of experience, but has not put a lot of players in the NFL and has had a pretty odd career path. I think Summers could be a solid line coach, but the same difficulties that plagued that last few offensive line coaches will plague him – a lack of depth.