Demons add three to round out 2022 coaching staff

Northwestern State’s 2022 football coaching staff is complete.

Fifth-year head coach Brad Laird announced the addition of three offensive assistant coaches Tuesday, wrapping up the most changes to his staff since his arrival ahead of the 2018 season.

Joining the Demon staff are offensive line coach Beau Blair, quarterbacks coach Kyle Washington and inside receivers coach Manny Harris. Their hires are subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, which governs Northwestern State University.

“I’m very excited to complete the staff as we move forward into the 2022 season,” Laird said. “These three coaches join the current staff all having the same qualities: A sincere, authentic care for people, outstanding knowledge of their position and a recruiting network skill that will benefit Northwestern State University.”

Both Blair and Harris previously worked with new NSU offensive coordinator Cody Crill at Incarnate Word.

Blair comes to Northwestern State after spending the 2021 season as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at New Mexico Highlands.

In his lone season there, Blair coordinated an offense that produced five all-conference players, including the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year – wide receiver CJ Sims. Under Blair, the Cowboys offense led the RMAC in passing offense and was second in total offense, producing a top-25 season nationally.

Prior to his time at New Mexico Highlands, Blair spent two seasons as an offensive line coach at Incarnate Word under current NSU offensive coordinator Cody Crill. Blair helped mold a Cardinals offensive line into a unit that blocked for a top-20 FCS passing offense while helping UIW average 5.1 yards per carry and record a single-game school record 402 yards rushing.

Blair was a graduate assistant offensive line coach at Houston in 2018, helping the Cougars rank fourth nationally in scoring offense (46.4 ppg) and sixth in total offense (538.6 yards per game) despite ranking 128th of 130 teams in time of possession.

A Gilmer, Texas, native, Blair began his collegiate coaching career at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, coaching tight ends and assisting with the offensive line. The Fire was the No. 1 NAIA scoring offense in 2017 and No. 2 in total offense while producing an all-conference tight end.

Blair spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Jacksonville (Texas) High School where he also was the strength and conditioning coordinator and head powerlifting coach. With Blair on staff, Jacksonville broke an eight-year playoff drought and produced a quarterback who rushed for 2,150 yards. Blair also coached one offensive lineman who continued his career in college.

“Coach Blair comes to NSU having worked with coach Crill at UIW and brings coordinator experience from his time at New Mexico Highlands,” Laird said. “His development of the offensive line at his previous coaching stints excites me as I look forward to watching the growth of the offensive line here at NSU.”

A former quarterback at Arkansas Tech and UTSA, Harris comes to NSU after spending two seasons as a graduate assistant at Incarnate Word, working alongside current Demon offensive coordinator Cody Crill and offensive line coach Beau Blair.

At UIW, Harris gained a multitude of experience, working with quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends and the offensive line.

Harris completed his playing career as a team captain at Arkansas Tech in 2019. Prior to his time in Russellville, he was a second-team All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference quarterback at Cisco Junior College where he led the NJCAA in passing yardage before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

While at Arkansas Tech, Harris threw for 1,373 yards and five touchdowns while adding 125 yards and a score on the ground.

Harris began his collegiate playing career at UTSA where he was part of the Roadrunners’ first bowl appearance in program history.

“Coach Harris is very familiar schematically with what coach Crill is implementing as he was an assistant under him at UIW,” Laird said. “He brings continuity and experience to the offensive staff, having worked several different positions over the last few years.”

Like Blair and Harris, Washington is no stranger to the Southland Conference.

Washington spent the 2019 season at McNeese as an offensive quality control coach before spending the 2020 and 2021 seasons at Franklin Pierce.

As Franklin Pierce’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks/running backs coach, Washington’s offense produced an improvement of 148 yards per game, 115 of which came on the ground.

Washington tutored running back EJ Burgess, who ranked fifth nationally in all-purpose yards per game (161.5) and 11th in rushing yards per game (120.4). Burgess earned Northeast-10 Offensive Player of the Year honors and was an All-Super Region One first-team running back.

A 2014 Harlon Hill Award semifinalist at Angelo State, Washington quarterbacked the Rams’ nation-leading offense for three seasons. In 2015, Angelo State led Division II with 560 yards per game after leading the nation with 411.1 yards per game in 2014.

Washington was a two-time All-American, a three-time All-Lone Star Conference selection and two-time Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He owns 28 Angelo State school records and was the 2014 San Angelo Standard Times Sportsman of the Year. Washington was named the Most Valuable Player on the Standard Times’ All-Decade Team in 2020.

Washington participated in the Philadelphia Eagles’ rookie mini-camp and was in training camp with the CFL’s Saskatchewan RoughRiders in 2016.

He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Angelo State in 2016, working with the Rams’ running backs.

“Coach Washington’s success on the field as a quarterback has led to his success coaching quarterbacks,” Laird said. “I look forward to watching him grow in this profession and watching our quarterbacks develop under his wings.”

Northwestern State opens the 2022 season at Montana on Sept. 3.

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