Willie Taggart turned to an old friend to replace Autry Denson as running backs coach, naming Donte Pimpleton to the position on Saturday morning. Pimpleton most recently served as offensive coordinator at Division II school Kentucky Wesleyan College in 2014. Amusingly enough, he was hired as running backs coach at FCS Delaware State in February before joining the Bulls' staff, not much unlike his predecessor's career path.
Taggart and Pimpleton go way back. Pimpleton played at Western Kentucky from 1997-2001, even backing up Taggart at quarterback in 1998. He served as offensive quality control assistant and wide receivers coach on Taggart's staff at WKU from 2010 to 2012.
Taggart said the following about Pimpleton in USF's press release:
“I have had a great relationship with Donte since we were teammates at Western Kentucky. He is a competitive and hard working individual and we have had a lot of success together. He will be terrific relating to our players on and off the field and we welcome him to the Bulls and The Bay.“
On paper, there's nothing wrong with this hire. Pimpleton is lacking in high-level coaching experience, but after Denson's departure, most people assumed that Taggart would handle the running backs himself. This is essentially as close as he can get to doing that-- he's bringing in a coach who's wholly familiar with him and his offense. The Bulls are entering a season where the onus for the offense is, for better or for worse, entirely on Taggart, so there's nothing wrong with bringing in guys who already buy into the gameplan.
Nevertheless, a look at Pimpleton's work: He ran a good offense at Kentucky Wesleyan, though most of the damage was done through the air. KWU averaged 39 points and 348.9 passing yards per game, but only averaged 106 rushing yards with a mediocre 3.1 yards per attempt. To be fair, this was a remarkable improvement over the offense before Pimpleton took over; KWU averaged just 16.0 points per game with 1.3 yards per rushing attempt in 2013.