Georgia Tech hires Tulane offensive coordinator Chip Long

Fans react to a Georgia Tech touchdown in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 at Bobby Dodd Stadium  (Daniel Varnado/ For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Fans react to a Georgia Tech touchdown in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 at Bobby Dodd Stadium (Daniel Varnado/ For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Georgia Tech hired Tulane offensive coordinator Chip Long as its new offensive coordinator.

Long will replace Dave Patenaude, who was dismissed at the end of the season after three seasons on coach Geoff Collins’ staff. The hire was first reported by On3. Tech confirmed the hire Sunday afternoon in a news release.

“I’m honored to be the offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech,” Long said in a statement. “I’m unbelievably excited about the wealth of talent, experience and potential that we have on the offensive side of the ball. We have the pieces in place to field a dynamic offense, score a lot of points and develop players for success both at Tech and beyond. I can’t wait to get started on the Flats.”

Long’s most notable experience was his three seasons as offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at Notre Dame, 2017-19. He helped the Fighting Irish improve from 4-8 in 2016 to 10-3 in 2017 with a significantly improved offense. He was a finalist in 2018 for the Broyles Award, which goes annually to the nation’s top assistant coach, but he was dismissed at the end of the 2019 season.

He served in 2020 as an offensive analyst at Tennessee before taking the coordinating job at Tulane with coach Willie Fritz. At Tulane, Long also coached quarterbacks in addition to his offensive-coordinator role, which were also Patenaude’s responsibilities. Long has mostly coached tight ends in his career.

The year before Long’s hire at Notre Dame from Memphis, the Fighting Irish offense was ranked 37th by Football Outsider’s Fremeau Efficiency Index, then finished 12th, 28th and 25th in his three years. Notre Dame was 33-6 in that span. His offense in his one season at Memphis (2016) was ranked 30th.

In that four-year span, Long was rated sixth among all currently active offensive coordinators in FBS, according to analytics calculated by SportsSource Analytics/Coaches By the Numbers.

The run/pass ratio of those four offenses suggests Long’s flexibility in adapting to the talent that he has on the roster. With Memphis in 2016, with quarterback Riley Ferguson piloting the offense, the Tigers had a 51/59 run/pass ratio as Ferguson was second in the American Athletic Conference in passing efficiency and had a 32/10 touchdown/interception ratio in his first season with the team.

When he went to Notre Dame, the Irish ran the ball 61 percent of the time and set school records for rushing yards (3,503) and yards-per-carry (6.3), both of which were top 10 in FBS. in 2018 and 2019, with Ian Book at quarterback, the ratio dropped to 56/44 in 2018 and 53/47 in 2019 as Book developed into one of the top quarterbacks in the country with a 53/13 touchdown/quarterback ratio in those two seasons.

Tulane’s offense did not perform nearly as well as his units at Notre Dame and Memphis – the Green Wave offense was 75th this season by FEI after finishing 60th in 2020 as Tulane finished the season 1-10. That Hurricane Ida displaced the team from campus for almost a month at the start of the season probably did not help. Still, the Green Wave put up 396 yards and 35 points on Oklahoma in the season opener.

“He has directed some of the nation’s top offenses during his time at Memphis and Notre Dame, has an outstanding record of developing players to reach their highest potential and has the proven ability to put his offenses in the best position to play winning football,” Collins said in a statement. “Chip’s proven ability as an offensive coordinator is going to be a great fit for the talented players that we have on our roster.”