Tom Arth wants to be married to a culture, not a style.
That's been one of the primary reasons the new University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football coach was successful at his last stop — his alma mater, NCAA Division III member John Carroll. He and defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, whom he intends to bring with him to UTC, have been versatile in their time as coaches, employing different styles to be suit the personnel.
Arth's first two seasons at John Carroll, his teams eclipsed 400 yards of total offense a game, with a best of 482.2 in the 2014 season, when the Blue Streaks averaged 48.2 points and 305.5 yards passing.
Those two teams were led by honorable mention All-America quarterback Matt Myers, who was the No. 9 quarterback prospect in the 2014 NFL draft. Those teams ran a lot of four- and five-receiver sets, but after assessing the Streaks' personnel and realizing they had a lot of running backs, Arth adjusted his offense to use more multiple tight ends and multiple backs.
His final John Carroll team ran on 53 percent of its plays and had Ro Golphin rush for 1,111 yards and 11 touchdowns while Sam Kukura added 821 yards and 14 scores.
Quarterback Anthony Moeglin threw for 2,800 yards and 29 touchdowns.
"Everybody you play against is a little bit different, and if you don't have any versatility in your plan, teams are going to be able to attack you and will be able to find out how you play, what you do, how you defend certain things and be able to do some stuff against it," Arth said Tuesday. "To be versatile is really a great advantage of ours, but moreso than that is being able to play a lot of people.
"To be able to play a lot of players is always been something that's been very important to us, to be able to take somebody and let them have a very defined role. They might not be an every-down player, but they may do something better than anybody else, or have a specific role they can perform at a high level. We have the versatility in our offense and defense that we can put them out there and have them be impactful type of players."
Staley's defense has been similarly adjustable. The 2013 JCU team used a 4-2-5 defense, allowing 9.1 points per game and 228.4 yards. The 2015 team played a 4-3 defense and gave up 13.6 points and 269.9 yards, but Staley adjusted again in 2016, switching to a 3-4 and allowing 12.6 points and 218.4 yards per game.
His 2016 defense ranked in the top 15 in Division III in six major categories.
"From a philosophical standpoint, we don't change, but in terms of how we do things, it's going to be very dependent on the players — what they do well, what they can understand, what they can be successful at," Arth said. "There's a lot of versatility built into the scheme. It's not like we're changing from one week to the next; we just have it built in.
"We have huge installs that come at you fast, but at the end of the day, if you start simple you can never be complicated. We want to put it all on you, find out what you can absorb, what you can retain, and we're smart enough to know when to pare back into what we need to."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.