HAMPTON — Glen Ferebee knows there will be questions. Folks are bound to wonder whether a man who has never coached a down of college football can direct a Division I offense.
Hampton University head coach Donovan Rose believes that he can. If guys such as Chad Morris and Gus Malzahn can make the jump from high school head coach to college offensive coordinator, why not a Virginia Beach native and former college quarterback who has lived the game since he was 7 years old?
"I'm not saying it's going to be easy," Ferebee said. "But I've tried to be a student of the game and I ran my high school teams like college practices. We did things that I did in college, at Lakeland (High). So from that aspect, transition has been easy. As far as schemes and things like that, I've had to do a lot more studying, ask a lot more questions."
Rose hired Ferebee last winter to coach quarterbacks, impressed with his work at Lakeland and his interview. When Pirates' offensive coordinator Earnest Wilson got the Savannah State head coaching job earlier this summer, Rose promoted Ferebee to coordinator.
"He's been with us through a spring and a summer and he did an excellent job coaching the quarterbacks," Rose said. "I thought they all made great strides, and they've bought into what he's been teaching them. They trust him."
After playing quarterback and receiver at Liberty University, Ferebee returned to Hampton Roads. He chose to coach in order to remain close to the game. He did assistant's stints at several area high schools before landing the Lakeland job, taking the program to its first playoff appearances in 2011 and '12.
He plans to retain a good deal of what Wilson tried to implement, while incorporating his own ideas.
"The philosophy of our offense is to take what the defense gives us, whether it's run or pass," Ferebee said. "We're going to get the best play for us. It might not always be the home run ball. If they're giving us the numbers to run the football, we're going to run the football. If they give us the numbers to throw the football, we're going to throw. It depends on what they give us. One game might be 70-30 (ratio of run-to-pass), the next game might be 30-70. It's going to vary week to week, based on what the defense is giving us. I think we're going to be sound in both the run and pass."
Ferebee aims to run a play every 13 seconds. He models his thoughts about pace from Old Dominion and Oregon. He visited with ODU's coaches when he was a high school coach, and he routinely watches the Ducks.
"I think playing fast helps you a lot," he said. "It forces teams to have to prepare for the (pace), as well as prepare for schemes. I think that's hard to do. It makes you kind of vanilla on defense. Not saying it's going to happen, but that's what we anticipate, with teams playing more zone and concentrating on not giving up big plays, as opposed to taking a chance on missing assignments. I think we'll get a lot of vanilla defenses based on what we do, speed-wise."
Ferebee knows that he has much to learn and that there will be some harsh lessons along the way. But he intends to keep the message and the goals simple.
"I'm not too big on the quarterback throwing for 5,000 yards or a running back running for 2,000 yards," he said. "It's about (first downs). What can we do to move the chains? That's the big emphasis. Let's get into plays that move the sticks and we'll take our shots when we can."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun