Life just got a lot better for Heidelberg University football coach Scott Donaldson.
Sitting in one of the school's athletic offices Monday, the first-year head coach, who had spent the previous 12 seasons on the Heidelberg staff, expressed excitement for new University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Tom Arth for several reasons.facebook
"He's a great coach. UTC is getting a great coach," Donaldson said by phone. "He's seasoned and knows the steps it takes to build a program. The proof is in what John Carroll has done over the last four years, especially this year.
"He's got a plan, he's confident and he will be able to be successful there."
Otterbein coach Tim Doup agreed with Donaldson's assessment that Arth would do well at UTC. His Otterbein team fell 49-6 to John Carroll on Nov. 5.
"He's a heck of a recruiter," Doup said. "The things he does offensively, you're seeing things done in the NFL, and they're hard to prepare for. He's put together some outstanding teams; he's recruiting well, but it's the schemes. They're difficult to defend with the things they do."
Doup said Arth seemed to relate well with the JCU players.
"He's a players' coach," Doup said. "He keeps in tune with them and understands where they're coming from."
Former John Carroll quarterback Jarrod Kilburn spent four seasons playing for Arth, three with Arth as the quarterbacks coach and one with him as head coach.
"His passion, his competitiveness, his football intelligence, his ability to recruit and how much he loves the game are off the charts," said Kilburn, now a University of Miami player personnel assistant. "He had an unprecedented level of success at John Carroll, and I have no doubt he'll do the same (at UTC).
"It was so apparent playing for him that it was a matter of when he made the jump (to Division I football), not if. UTC is extremely fortunate to have him."
Both Arth and defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, who's coming with him, have been able to adjust their schemes to suit their personnel. In 2013, John Carroll was led by All-America honorable-mention quarterback Mark Myers, who was ranked as the No. 9 quarterback prospect in the 2014 NFL draft. The Blue Streaks ran a lot of single-back, four-receiver sets during Arth's first three seasons, but with a stable of running backs in 2016 they ran the ball on 53 percent of their plays and had Ro Golphin rush for 1,111 yards and 11 touchdowns and Sam Kukura add 821 yards and 14 scores.
Quarterback Anthony Moeglin threw for 2,800 yards and 29 touchdowns.
"They do a great job of adjusting what they do to fit the personnel," Donaldson said. "From what I've seen, they don't recruit to a scheme. They recruit the best players and fit their scheme around them."
In Staley's three seasons leading the John Carroll defense (2013, 2015-16), he ran three separate defenses: 4-2-5 in 2013, 4-3 in 2015 and 3-4 this past season.
"Brandon is an unbelievable defensive coordinator," Doup said. "He gives you so many looks with the things he does defensively. They have very, very good athletes, but the things he does schematically is tough to prepare for because you never know what he's going to do.
"You never know on first, second, third down — they could all be different. He uses his personnel very well."
Bridges to UTC?
Former Ridgeland High School running back Darrell Bridges told the Times Free Press on Monday that he is seeking a transfer to UTC.
Bridges has spent the past three seasons at Presbyterian College, where the 6-foot-1, 200-pound running back has rushed for 2,182 yards in his career, which ranks second in the school's Division I era. He had 721 yards and two touchdowns in 2016 for the 2-9 Blue Hose.
Bridges will graduate in May and is seeking an opportunity to play his final season for the Mocs and new head coach Tom Arth.
He said he would be willing to play "whatever the new coach" needed, including possibly flipping sides of the football.
"I wouldn't mind hitting people for once," he said. "I've been getting hit my whole career."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.