Faced with a difficult task due to an extremely compressed timeline, it appears that Tim Beckman has already found a more than capable replacement for departing offensive line coach AJ Ricker.
According to the Champaign News-Gazette’s Matt Daniels, Illinois is expected to welcome former Maryland offensive line coach Tom Brattan onto the Fighting Illini staff sometime very soon.
Brattan has served as an offensive line coach for three different teams over the past 21 seasons. For the sake of brevity, let’s take a look at each team’s finest season during each of his coaching stops, and exactly how many offensive linemen appeared in the NFL off Brattan coached lines from each school.
The Northwestern Years (1992-1998)
His first run as an offensive line coach took place from 1992-1998 when Brattan coached the offensive line of that purple team up north, and there’s little doubt that 1995 was the most successful Wildcat team during Brattan’s tenure. The 1995 Northwestern Wildcats finished 8-0 in the Big Ten, and 10-1 during the regular season before losing in the Rose Bowl, but their success wasn’t driven by a high powered offense. They finished 90th in the nation in Total Offense (315 ypg), 50th in Scoring Offense (25.4 ppg), 50th in Rushing Offense (173.3 ypg), and 91st in Passing Offense (141.7 ypg) during their magical Rose Bowl run.
Northwestern Offensive Linemen from 1992-1998 that appeared in the NFL:
- Matt O’Dwyer (2nd Round, New York Jets)
- Paul Janus (Undrafted)
The Stanford Years (1999-2000)
His next stop was at Stanford for the 1999 and 2000 seasons, and he found immediate success during his rookie campaign. In 1999, the Cardinal won the Pac-10 Conference Championship outright for the first time since 1971 behind an offensive line that helped the Cardinal Offense amass 313.5 ypg through the air, good for a final ranking 10th in the nation. Overall, the Cardinal Offense finished 5th in the nation in Total Offense at 467.1 ypg, and 6th in the nation in Scoring Offense at 37.2 ppg.
Stanford Offensive Linemen from 1999-2000 that appeared in the NFL:
- Pete Swanson (Undrafted)
The Maryland Years (2001-2013)
Just like Stanford in 1999, Brattan saw immediate success as lightning struck once again during his first season taking over the offensive line of a new school. The Terrapins posted a 10-1 regular season record while winning the ACC Title, and also picked up a BCS berth into the 2002 Orange Bowl in the process. Unlike the 10-1 Northwestern team, Brattan’s offensive line helped propel this 10-1 Maryland squad to a highly ranked offense that finished 11th in the nation in Rushing Offense (220.73 ypg), 57th in Passing Offense (219 ypg), 16th in Total Offense (439.73 ypg), and 12th in Scoring Offense (35.45 ppg).
Maryland Offensive Linemen from 2001-2013 that appeared in the NFL:
- Bruce Campbell (4th Round, Oakland Raiders)
- Phil Costa (Undrafted)
- Andrew Crummey (Undrafted)
- Melvin Fowler (3rd Round, Cleveland Browns)
- Jared Gaither (5th Round Supplemental, Baltimore Ravens)
- Stephon Heyer (Undrafted)
- Jaimie Thomas (7th Round, Indianapolis Colts)
- Edwin Williams (Undrafted)
- Will Yeatman (Undrafted)
After this little trip through history, two things are clear.
Brattan has contributed to some very successful teams during his lengthy collegiate coaching tenure, and more recently he has helped push many players through to the next level. Success, and a chance to play at the NFL level are important attributes that all players should seek from a coach.
Considering the circumstances, Illinois looks to have found a coach that’s more than capable of stepping in and finding immediate success.
Here’s hoping he brings some of that winning magic from his previous coaching stops with him to Champaign-Urbana this season!