New coordinator Trevor Andrews inherits credentialed William and Mary defense

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New W&M defensive coordinator inherits three first-team All-CAA players.

WILLIAMSBURG — As Trevor Andrews transitions into yet another role with William and Mary's football program, this time as defensive coordinator, he harkens back a decade to his first shift in duties.

Andrews was a fledgling, and all he knew was coaching the secondary, at Illinois Wesleyan, Randolph-Macon and William and Mary. But when defensive line coach Levern Belin left for Northern Illinois following the 2003 season, head coach Jimmye Laycock shifted Andrews to the line, where he inherited a veteran group led by Adam O'Connor.

"I was learning from (the players) as much as they were learning from me that first year," Andrew said Monday as the Tribe opened preseason drills. "I asked them at the end of the year: 'How did I do? What can I do to improve?'

"And to a man they said, 'You've got be harder on us, Coach.' I was coaching corners before, a totally different beast. … You've got to drive those guys up front. They want it, they crave it. … There's just different personalities at each (position)."

Andrews oversaw the line for 10 seasons, during which O'Connor, Adrian Tracy, Sean Lissemore and, last year, Mike Reilly earned All-America honors. This season he takes over the linebackers coach/coordinator job held by Scott Boone until his February move to the University of Nevada.

As soon as spring practice concluded in April, Andrews, whom Laycock promoted to associate head coach in 2013, visited Boone, Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and Carolina Panthers DC Sean McDermott. Shoop coordinated the Tribe's defense from 2007-10, and McDermott was an all-conference safety at William and Mary in 1997.

"The Xs and Os are one thing," Andrews said, "but how to coordinate was the thing I was more concerned about, and leading a staff and a defense. I've been under some great coaches, just at William and Mary, and you take a little bit from all those guys and you kind of make it your own. The one thing everybody says is just be yourself. …

"Scott and I are both from Indiana, we coached together forever, and I was his right-hand man. Personality-wise, we're probably pretty similar. It will be interesting to see what some of the (players) think."

What about it guys? Is Andrews much different than Boone?

"He's a little more wired than Coach Boone," linebacker Airek Green said.

Indeed, as we conversed on a bench outside the locker room, Andrews resembled a defensive lineman in his stance, leaning forward in anticipation, poised to pounce. He misses the daily interaction with that group, but coordinator duties dictated a move to coaching linebackers, a group Andrews considers a hybrid of cornerback and lineman personalities.

"I just really felt that I needed to be tied into the coverage aspect, not just the pass rush and the run stopping," Andrews said. "Be able to talk to the secondary guys, be able to talk to the front guys and have a fluid flow there."

"I have never felt real comfortable having a defensive line coach as coordinator," Laycock said. "It's the same thing on offense. I've never really been comfortable having an offensive line coach be a coordinator. I like somebody who's coaching a position and also can see the big picture."

What Andrews sees is a defense in need of fine-tuning rather than overhaul. Headlined by Reilly, Green, linebacker Luke Rhodes and cornerback DeAndre Houston-Carson, William and Mary returns eight starters from a unit that ranked second nationally last season in points allowed at 14.0 per game.

Andrews' terminology will mirror Boone's, and schemes will change little more than the annual tweaks every sage coordinator installs. The status quo strategically is an invitation to failure, and Andrews is blessed with players and staff more than capable of adjusting.

Secondary coach Tom Clark is a veteran Championship Subdivision coordinator and a former head coach at Division III Catholic. Defensive assistant Trey Henderson is entering his ninth year in Williamsburg, while second-year assistant Joe Brady is a former Tribe receiver.

Even the rookie of the bunch, new defensive line coach Kevin Lewis, meshes well with Andrews since both consider Virginia Tech d-line coach Charley Wiles a mentor. Lewis was a three-year starter under Wiles and was a senior on the Hokies' 2004 ACC championship team.

But it's the first-team, All-Colonial Athletic Association core of Rhoads, Green and Reilly that make William and Mary a good bet to improve upon last season's 7-5 record and reach the Championship Subdivision playoffs.

"What you see is guys like Luke and Airek and Mike," Andrews said, "and they make the guys around them better. So you see (safety Jared) Velazquez, for example, he was a (sophomore) last year and had that game-changing 90-yard pick (return for touchdown against James Madison). The guys up front put some pressure on the quarterback (on that play). So not only do they make game-changing plays. They give others the chance to do so."

When Shoop left for Vanderbilt prior to the 2011 season, Laycock elevated Boone. With the Tribe enjoying its longest stretch of defensive excellence in Laycock's 35 years, Andrews' ascension was just as logical.

"It was a no-brainer," Laycock said. "Trevor's done a great job. The thing about him, every responsibility or task he's taken on, he's done a very good job."

David Teel can be reached at 757-247-4636 or by email at dteel@dailypress.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP.

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