Switching sides: Wannebo embraces offense now
by Al Muskewitz
Sports Writer
Aug 09, 2009 | 986 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Matt Wannebo will move from coaching JSU's secondary to coaching receivers. Photo: Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star
Matt Wannebo will move from coaching JSU's secondary to coaching receivers. Photo: Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star
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JSU receivers coach Matt Wannebo has quickly transitioned to his new role after coaching the secondary previously. Photo: Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star
JSU receivers coach Matt Wannebo has quickly transitioned to his new role after coaching the secondary previously. Photo: Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star
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JACKSONVILLE — When Jack Crowe needed a receivers coach this past spring, he didn't really go far to find him. It's just that the place he went might have caught some Jacksonville State football followers by surprise.

Instead of conducting some drawn-out search when time was of the essence, all Crowe did was walk down the hall and move longtime secondary coach Matt Wannebo to the other side of the ball.

Staff shuffling happens all the time, but what made Wannebo's move interesting was that he had been with the Gamecocks' defense from the day Crowe was hired as head coach.

For the head coach, the decision was easy.

"Matt is an intellectual coach and as long as he acts in a facilitating role, I think he can be an enormous resource for everybody on offense and (offensive coordinator) Ronnie (Letson) in particular," Crowe said. "I've had Matt with me several times. I know what a resource he'd been for Joe Kines. I know what an enormous asset he was for Bill (Oliver). And I know what a resource he was for me.

"He's managed more different things in this football program than any coach has ever since he'd been here. I know he can do both (offense and defense). I think he can do more things that I need to have done on offense. I've always sort of … waited for the opportunity to do (this)."

The transition has been made easier by the fact he has a veteran corps of receivers that got stronger in the offseason with the transfer of Greg Smith from Georgia Tech.

Wannebo might not have the subtleties of the position down, but he can give them a perspective on the coverages and techniques defensive backs use to play the pass.

He put that part of his experience to work several times in the spring and the defensive coaches were not amused.

As for the players, they didn't find the transition difficult at all. They kind of liked the perspective.

"He's on top of his game all the time," senior James Wilkerson said. "If you never knew he was a defensive coach, you'd have thought … he always taught receivers. He knows what he's talking about."

And now that he's on offense, Wannebo has no plans of going back — unless he goes somewhere else.

"I said if you're going to make the move, it's not going to be one of those where you go through spring and move back. What's done is done," he said. "That's what I told the receivers, too: This is all through the next year. I'm not going to go part of the time and turn around and come back.

"It's like I told the players. We ask them to change a position. If I say no and then we ask you to change a position, what's the difference? You do what's best for the way things fit in and adjust."
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Switching sides: Wannebo embraces offense now by Al Muskewitz
Sports Writer