Michigan State OC Roushar accepts Saints position

Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar is leaving to be the running backs coach of the New Orleans Saints, the school announced in a release Saturday.

Roushar was on the Spartan staff for seven seasons, including the last three as offensive coordinator

“The New Orleans Saints and Michigan State are built on similar models, with a focus on character and people,” Roushar said in a statement emailed by Michigan State. “New Orleans has won a Super Bowl, and over the last five years, the Saints have been one of the winningest organizations in the NFL. I’ve had an opportunity to work for Mark Dantonio – in my opinion, the best college football coach in America – for the last eight years, including the last six seasons at Michigan State. Now, I have an opportunity to work for arguably the best coach in the NFL, in Sean Payton.”

The Michigan State offense struggled in 2012, ranking ninth overall in the Big Ten (358.3 ypg). The rushing attack was eighth in the Big Ten (149.4 ypg) and the passing game was fourth (209.9 ypg). The Spartans were 10th in scoring (20.0 ppg) during a disappointing 7-6 season that saw MSU lose all five home games—including all four home Big Ten contests—and end the season with a Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl win over TCU. The Spartans won 11 games in each of the previous two seasons.

It’s not known how Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio will fill the offensive coordinator spot. Will what largely has been a pro-style attack built around a physical running game be altered or tweaked?

The new play-caller will need to sort out a quarterback spot that struggled in 2012. Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook are the veteran options. The receiving corps also needs to develop after struggling with inconsistency in 2012. The attack will miss running back Le’Veon Bell, who has turned pro early. Tight end Dion Sims also turned pro.

“Dan Roushar has been a loyal and dedicated assistant for the last eight years, including the past six seasons at Michigan State,” Dantonio said in the release. “He’s a great teacher and a tireless recruiter. Dan certainly played a critical role in helping build a solid foundation here at Michigan State. We’re grateful for the effort and energy he’s invested in our program.

“He’s excited about being presented with the opportunity to coach the game at its highest level. We’re thrilled for Dan and his family, and we wish him nothing but the best in the NFL.”

Here are some tweets about Roushar’s landing a new position:

Here are Roushar’s full quotes from the official release:

 “The New Orleans Saints and Michigan State are built on similar models, with a focus on character and people. New Orleans has won a Super Bowl, and over the last five years, the Saints have been one of the winningest organizations in the NFL. I’ve had an opportunity to work for Mark Dantonio – in my opinion, the best college football coach in America – for the last eight years, including the last six seasons at Michigan State. Now, I have an opportunity to work for arguably the best coach in the NFL, in Sean Payton. Professionally, this is an opportunity I simply couldn’t pass up. Now as a running backs coach, I have the chance to learn the interworking of the NFL.

“Michigan State is poised to have a tremendous year in 2013. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have worked alongside Coach Dantonio, a talented coaching staff and gifted players. The last six years at Michigan State have been quite rewarding: six-straight bowl appearances, back-to-back 11-wins seasons including a Big Ten Championship and a Legends Division title, and four-straight victories over Michigan. It’s difficult to leave because it has been quite a ride, but professional opportunities like this are indeed rare. Coach Dantonio has built something special – it’s a program that pursues excellence in all aspects, not only on the field competing for championships, but also off the field in the classroom and in the community.”

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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3 Comments

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Doug on 2/16/2013 @ 4:19pm EST Said:

He was run out of town, but I don’t think there are too many MSU fans sad to see him go.

Mike Lee on 2/16/2013 @ 8:42pm EST Said:

Great O-Line Coach….

JB on 2/17/2013 @ 10:59am EST Said:

With Damion Terry coming aboard as a future dual threat QB, may see MSU follow the RG3 mold & tweak the offensive scheme.