LOGAN — For three seasons, from 2015 through 2017, former Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, who now plays for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, was one of the more dynamic signal callers in college football.
As a sophomore in 2015, Rudolph threw for 3,770 yards and 21 touchdowns, along with just nine interceptions. The next year he was even better, with stats like 4,091 yards passing, a completion percentage of 63.4% and 28 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Over the course of his senior season in Stillwater, Rudolph topped it all, throwing for nearly 5,000 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Two seasons later, this past year in fact, another Mason, North Texas quarterback Mason Fine, closed out his stellar college career with a Rudolph-esque campaign. Fine threw for 3,088 yards and 29 touchdowns, with just nine interceptions, to lead the Mean Green in 2019.
Aside from their first names, and a predilection for leading high-powered offenses, Rudolph and Fine have something in common, or rather someone — Bodie Reeder.
For three seasons, from 2014 to 2016, Reeder was an integral part of the Oklahoma State coaching staff, serving as an offensive quality control coach. And this past year? Reeder was North Texas’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
- New Utah State football co-defensive coordinator Stacy Collins, right, listens as head coach Gary Andersen answers a question during a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Logan. Eli Lucero, The Herald Journal
- New Utah State offensive coordinator Bodie Reeder, right, listens as co-defensive coordinator Frank Maile answers a question during a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Logan. Eli Lucero, The Herald Journal
- New Utah State football offensive coordinator Bodie Reeder, left, and head coach Gary Andersen laugh at a question during a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in Logan. Eli Lucero, The Herald Journal
In between those stints, he guided one of the most dynamic offenses at the FCS level at Eastern Washington, helping the Eagles earn a berth in the national championship game in 2018.
Reeder has proven himself a more than capable offensive mind and next up for him is the offensive coordinator gig at Utah State.
Aggies’ head coach Gary Andersen announced the news late Wednesday afternoon and on Thursday he officially welcomed Reeder to the program, as a replacement for Mike Sanford Jr., who left to become the offensive coordinator at Minnesota.
“It became very clear to me that this was the guy we were looking for,” Andersen said. “He’s had success everywhere he’s been. He’s ground himself through the process of coaching. He’s worked like crazy. Everywhere he’s gone, he’s taken a step forward. ... We were looking for somebody that is a great quarterback teacher, can run a room, can be the general manager of the offense and is tough. That’s what we’ve got.”
Reeder was drawn to Utah State in part because of Andersen himself, but also because of the program’s tradition and “history of success.”
“Talking to people in the profession, there’s not a better guy to work for (than Andersen),” Reeder said. “And on the outside looking in, a program like this is tough, they work hard and earn every inch that they get. That’s the type of program that I want to be a part of.”
So what can Aggie fans expect from a Reeder offense? A little bit of everything it turns out.
“We want to take advantage of the guys that we have in the room,” Reeder said. “We want to play to the strengths of our offense. We’re going to have multiple tempos and multiple personnel, and make sure that we’re getting the ball to our playmakers in space in the correct fashion that they need to get it.
“I don’t believe in a book or a video type of system of an offense. We’re going to make sure that we have multiple, and we’re going to make sure that we have different schemes that can attack the defense from sideline to sideline and vertically down the field. We’re going to have a couple different run schemes that we can run the ball inside in our zone schemes and outside in our zone schemes and take advantage of gap runs. I think if you had to describe it, it would be a multiple-pace, multiple-personnel offense.”
What does that mean for the lightning quick attack the Aggies’ have utilized in recent years? It’ll still be around, in some form or another — “I believe that he wants to go fast,” Andersen said. “The first day they walk out, they’re going to go fast, which is awesome — but it won’t be the be all end all.
“He said it best in his interview,” said Andersen, before turning to Reeder. “Just explain the basketball analogy that you gave me.”
With a grin on his face, Reeder responded.
“I was an average high school basketball player. If I was guarding a guy that came from the opening tip going a million miles an hour, my mind and my body sped up to his pace. But if I had to guard a guy who was constantly changing pace, who was herky-jerky and was going to shuffle step me, that was tough. I think that plays in the hands of the offense, if they can change the pace of the game.”
Change is in air in Logan after a 7-6 campaign, the departure of Sanford and the arrival of Reeder, as well as a shakeup of roles on the coaching staff. It has all been necessary.
“We talked after the season about dissecting ourselves, starting with myself, and doing everything we can to move in the right direction,” Andersen said. “We made some decisions. They’re great decisions. They’re well thought out. ... We’re in a good place. Obviously, there have been some hard decisions that have been made, but everybody’s all in.”