MOBILE, Alabama — South Alabama football fans who have watched Oklahoma State’s offense and that of Southern Miss in recent seasons have an idea of what Robert Matthews has in store for the Jaguars.
Matthews was officially hired as the Jags’ new offensive coordinator on Wednesday. He replaces Greg Gregory, who held the job in South Alabama’s first three seasons and was fired at the conclusion of the 2011 season.
“We want to bring an exciting offense, an offense that will be exciting to watch, an offense that’s going to score some points,” Matthews said in a telephone interview. “I’ve had a lot of experience in those systems. We’re going to be a multi-tempoed offense and use a lot of different personnel groups and formations. We’re going to try to spread the field, but at the same time we’re going to use balance too. We’re going to run the football and then take advantage of the throwing game when we have a chance to do that as well.”
Matthews spent the past two seasons on Larry Fedora’s Southern Miss staff. This past season he served as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. The previous season he was an administrative assistant who also helped out in coaching the offensive line. Prior to joining the USM staff, Matthews spent four seasons at Oklahoma State where he was the quarterbacks coach in 2009 and a director of operations when he arrived in 2006. He also oversaw the team’s walk-on program and other duties with the program as well.
It is Matthews’ knowledge of the offense USM and Oklahoma State currently run that made him a strong candidate for the job, South Alabama head coach Joey Jones said.
“Number one, we want him to come in and bring the offensive staff together and our players together and create a oneness on offense,” Jones said. “That’s the number one thing we need to get done. He’s the kind of man that’s going to be able to get that job done.
“Secondly, he knows the Oklahoma State-Southern Miss offense inside and out and that’s something that I’ve been looking at doing and felt like we needed to do this year going into the Sun Belt (play). It gives us a chance to move forward and I think he understands that offense extremely well. Thirdly, he’s a hard-nosed coach who is going to get the kids playing hard and that’s a quality I feel is good about him.”