It will probably come as no surprise to most that the St. Stanislaus football team will have a different look in 2017.
For starters, SSC will graduate a historic Division 1-bound senior class of record setters, including quarterback Myles Brennan (LSU), tight ends Chase Rogers (undecided), Darius Pittman (Purdue) and receiver Corbin Blanchard (Air Force). Factor in coach Bill Conides moving on to Denham Springs, Louisiana, and change seemed inevitable.
That being said, the Rocks are hoping to keep their winning tradition intact with the promotion of Jeff Jordan to head coach.
Hired in 2015 to coach the offensive line, Jordan, who played a key role in the team’s recent success, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his new position.
“After the principal (Patrick McGrath) and I met, and met with Jeff, we just knew that was the right direction to take,” SSC athletic director Stace McRaney said. “We felt like we had the person we needed already in the building.”
Journey to South Mississippi
Jordan’s ties to the region are deep. The talented offensive guard/center was actually recruited by Jeff Bower to join Bobby Collins’ roster at Southern Miss. When Collins left for Southern Methodist University, Jordan opted to transfer back home to Baton Rouge, and finish out his eligibility at LSU.
After graduating, Jordan joined the University of Louisiana-Lafayette staff and wore a lot of different hats from 1987-99, including strength and conditioning, offensive line and tight ends.
“I learned a lot of football there,” he said.
After ULL, Jordan was an assistant at Central Private School, St. Amant High and East St. John before taking over as head coach at Opelousas Catholic.
It was while Jordan was at East St. John that he befriended an up-and-coming coach — Conides. The two were assistants on the same staff, hit it off and became best of friends, Jordan said.
“I owe a lot to Coach Conides,” Jordan said. “If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here in the first place.”
When Conides reached out prior to the 2015 season to gauge Jordan’s interest in leading SSC’s offensive linemen, he didn’t hesitate.
“I was more than happy to pack it up and move to the Coast,” He said. “I love the area and living here.”
With the graduation of four difference-makers on offense, it’s only natural to expect change. For starters, Jordan said his son, Josh, will take over as quarterback coach and offensive coordinator. The younger Jordan signed with Skip Holtz’s East Carolina team before transferring to McNeese State, where he was a standout tight end.
Schematically, Jordan expects the Rockachaws to reel in the passing attack a bit.
“People are going to notice some changes, offensively especially. Obviously we’re not going to throw the ball 40 times a game,” he said. We’re going to have a different look offensively. We’re fortunate to have intelligent athletes who will be able to handle the transition.”
With running backs Andrew Trapani, Cahill Marlowe and Taylor Necaise returning, along with the majority of the offensive line, expect SSC to be more of a balanced attack under Jordan.
“You have to be able to fit your system to the talent you have,” Jordan said. “In an ideal world we’d like to be 50-50 run-pass.”
The frontrunner at quarterback will likely be rising senior Jake Greer, who started at free safety this season.
Jordan compared his style to Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight.
“Our quarterback will carry the ball as well,” Jordan said. “Jake will be a running back playing quarterback who also has tremendous arm skills.”
Greer’s younger brother, Pat, along with Max Favre and transfer Cameron Bishop, will also compete to start at quarterback.
Strong on D
SSC expects to be strong defensively. It’ll be tough to replace Brendan Logan, Ricky Schaefer and Gaige Prudhomme, but the Rockachaws return eight of their top 11 tacklers from a year ago.
Leo Roos, J.D. Rutherford, Joe Reeder and Lewie Negrotto should carry the load on that side of the ball.
“I’m really confident in our defense,” Jordan said.
When Jordan was hired by Conides, he said he was content being an assistant coach and didn’t expect to climb the ranks. However, after getting acclimated with the Coast community, Jordan things started to change for Jordan. Now, he can’t see himself leaving.
“When I originally came here, I really didn't have aspirations of being a head coach again,” he said. “I just enjoy the game and being around the kids, but after being at this school, these students and young men are very special. Just the chance to coach these guys and hopefully be a positive role model for them and to help them grow athletically, socially and spiritually, and all the things SSC stands for, it really changed my thought process on being a head coach.
“It’s not that I wanted to be a head coach again, but I wanted to coach these kids. I'm planning on this being my last coaching stop. It's more about the place and school than title.”