Noel Mazzone putting more run in Texas A&M offense

New Texas A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.

Taylor Mazzone is the coach to be named later in the deal that brought his father, offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, to Texas A&M.

Taylor Mazzone isn't one of the program's nine full-time assistant coaches, nor is he one of the four graduate assistants the Aggies can have. Taylor Mazzone's job description is offensive quality control.

Outside nine assistants and the grad assistants, FBS schools can have as many noncoaching staff members as they want, said David Batson, the school's director of athletic compliance, "provided the other staff members do not provide any coaching instruction to the student-athletes on or off the field and are not involved in the evaluation or selection of perspective student-athletes."

Quality control staff positions are noncoaching positions.

"They can break down practice and game film and prepare practice and game plans with the coaches," Batson said. "But [they] cannot assist with play-calling during games or practices nor coach student-athletes on or off the field."

It doesn't sound like a glamorous job, but getting someone with Taylor Mazzone's experience is a bonus for the Aggies. He spent the last three seasons as UCLA's quarterbacks coach after spending a season as a graduate assistant. He also served as a grad assistant at Arizona State in 2010-11 when his father was offensive coordinator.

That's 5,842 plays of coaching experience in the last six years, making son a valuable resource as dad implements his spread offense at A&M.

"When we first started this offense, he was what? Sixteen years old?" Noel Mazzone said Tuesday after the team's fifth spring practice. "So he's a great conduit for me and those players, because I am getting a little old."

The 58-year-old Noel Mazzone is running an offense youngsters love and is smart enough to know his son at times might get his point across better.

"[Taylor] might say, 'All right, he may be saying this, but this is what he really means,'" Noel Mazzone said. "So he's really been awesome to have around."

The younger Mazzone also could be the X-factor in A&M's transition to a spread offense that's a little more run-oriented than most. Taylor Mazzone is well versed in the Xs and Os of his dad's offense, and his resume indicates he relates well to the players executing those plays, something A&M can't take for granted after last year. All seemed fine in Aggieland during A&M's 5-0 start, but by season's end the record had settled at 8-5 with the offense taking the brunt of the blame. Head coach Kevin Sumlin fired the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, and the quarterbacks who started the first 12 games effectively fired Sumlin, transferring to other schools.

A&M needs someone to rally the troops. Maybe Mazzone & Mazzone is the answer.

Noel Mazzone is replacing a guy almost half his age in 30-year-old Jake Spavital, who played a major part in A&M signing five-star quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray and getting a commitment from class of 2017 four-star recruit Tate Martell. Allen and Murray, though, were so distraught with the state of the team that they left A&M before the bowl game. And after Spavital was fired, Allen responded via Twitter with: "My guy for life @JakeSpavital we'll be back on top soon."

Maybe that's an offensive coordinator being a little too close to his players, though it wasn't a problem in 2014 when Allen was named MVP of the Liberty Bowl. Nor was it a problem in 2012 when Johnny Manziel was doing body slams with then offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury en route to winning the Heisman Trophy. It's also why age and the number of seasons someone has coached are just numbers -- until they lose. Then a coach is deemed too old and hasn't kept up with the game or today's players, or he lacks the experience to win at the highest level.

However you want to spin it, A&M had a problem on offense last year, a big problem, and it's Noel Mazzone's job to fix it. He probably feels better about doing it with his son. So be it. They have a pretty good track record. The last three quarterbacks they've worked with were Brock Osweiler, Brett Hundley and Josh Rosen.

Besides being a smart move for A&M, Noel Mazzone coaching with his son is priceless on the personal level.

"In 30 some years of coaching, you don't get to spend as much time with your family as you do with your football coaches," he said. "So for me to have this opportunity, it's so awesome."

And if the Mazzones are as successful as they hope, a breakup is inevitable.

"[Taylor] keeps having opportunities to go other places and I keep going, 'You can't leave yet,'" Noel Mazzone said. "'You've got to hang around with the old man a little longer.'"

Maybe that's why Taylor Mazzone's nickname on his Twitter account is Old Ball Coach, even though he's only 28. He gets it. Hopefully, he'll be able to pass it on.

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