Deion Sanders has long said he’s going to do whatever it takes to get better. Well after the first 11-win season in program history and the Tigers’ first SWAC championship since 2007, Sanders isn’t resting on those accomplishments.
He’s been hard at work since the final snap of Jackson State’s surprising Celebration Bowl blowout loss to the MEAC’s South Carolina State Bulldogs.
— Jackson State Football (@GoJSUTigersFB) December 14, 2021
JSU Hires Nevada’s Brett Bartolone: Offense Is Going Air Raid
Looking to inject more life and explosiveness into a solid offense, Sanders has hired Brett Bartolone, an offensive analyst from the Nevada Wolfpack. Bartolone will assume duties of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the Tigers. This isn’t a shocking move, as Bartolone just helped develop Carson Strong into an NFL prospect. Strong, who stands 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, passed for 4,186 yards, 36 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. The Wolfpack went 8-5 while averaging a whopping 35.7 points per game.
— Brett Bartolone (@CoachBartolone) January 19, 2022
Bartelone introduced himself in an Instagram post on Deion Sanders’ page
“Hey guys, my name is Brett Bartolone, I’m the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Jackson State. I’m super excited to be here and I can’t wait to start my journey with the Jackson State community. You can expect us to score a lot of points, we’re going to be prepared and to put it quite simply we’re going to do things the defense doesn’t like us to do. We’re going to play fast, and we’re going to play super confident, and we’re going to attack the defense.”
Sanders didn’t physically appear in the video, but he had this to say in the caption:
“We’re offering a one time for any of u who don’t fully BELIEVE to start BELIEVING. 2022 is going to be a blessed year. Lord, I can feel it already! I’m just trying to give y’all as much fair warning as possible.”
Sanders mentioned that he’d like to see the offense become a bit more explosive. This past season, the Tigers averaged 27 points and 360 yards per game. But in Coach Prime’s opinion there were too many lulls offensively, and if not for the stoutest defense in the SWAC they might have lost more games.
JSU QB Shedeur Sanders, the 2021 Jerry Rice Award winner for the top freshman in FCS, put up some major numbers this season. In 2021, he passed for 3,200 yards, 30 touchdowns and 8 picks.
His 66 percent completion percentage was one of the highest in FCS. Still, there are obvious areas for improvement and the right offensive scheme is imperative to Shedeur’s development into an NFL quarterback.
Air Raid Attack Coming to JSU: Shedeur Sanders Will Break Records
Under Bartolone’s guidance, the Wolfpack ran an “Air Raid” attack. Once applied to JSU, the scheme will elevate the offense and utilize all of Shedeur’s strengths. The offense uses wide line splits to create more horizontal space, fast tempo and quick, short routes to supplement the run game. Nevada QB Carson’s live, strong arm made this offense really click.
Bartolone played at Washington State under coach Mike Leach. Any coach that came up through the Mike Leach coaching tree is adept at offense. Leach, now head coach at Mississippi State, is one of the founders of the Air Raid offense, along with Hal Mumme. The two created it while at Iowa Wesleyan College. So his principles and schemes will more than likely include what he learned during his time in Pullman, Washington.
Washington State’s Mike Leach, one of nation’s most innovative offensive minds, will be Mississippi State’s coach, sources told @Stadium. Leach coached 18 years at Texas Tech & WSU. The Cougs’ have had nation’s top passing offense 3 of past 5 years & never ranked out of Top 10
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) January 9, 2020
Travis Hunter, Wideman and Kevin Coleman Comprise Elite Receiving Corps
The key component of the Air Raid system is to have a QB with a live arm, but one who’s also accurate and makes quick decisions in his reads. Sanders should benefit from Bartolone’s scheme, and he should develop into the pro prospect that many believe he can be.
Just look around the league and you see Gardner Minshew (Jaguars and Eagles) who played for Leach at Wazzu, and the aforementioned Strong, who is a highly sought-after prospect in this year’s draft class.
Wide receivers Malachi Wideman, Hunter (2022 No. 1 overall recruit), and Coleman (2022 No. 4-ranked receiver) should all have big years in the SWAC.
— Andscape (@andscape) January 8, 2022
Coach Prime is again pushing the envelope and improving the Jackson State program. He’s bringing in young talent that will usher in a new era of football at JSU, where the tutelage and development is on par with any Power 5 school in the country, even if the endowment isn’t. He’s not content with what they accomplished in 2021. The SWAC had better have some “DAWGS” or Deion is going to run roughshod over the conference for years to come.
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