Sacramento State brought in three new coaches in the offseason to prepare the team for the series of practices and scrimmages they will be holding throughout their spring schedule.
The new coaches are Andy Avalos for the linebackers, Jordan Gigli for the defensive line, and Bush Hamdan for the tight ends.
In his first year as linebacker coach for the Hornets, Avalos has noticed what sets Sac State apart is the team’s cohesiveness as a unit.
“I really like it here and I think the team chemistry we have here is unbelievable,” Avalos said. “It’s not too often you get to come to a place where the team chemistry is so good.”
The new coaches on the staff this season have begun to get accustomed with each other so as to help the team in moving forward this season.
“I really enjoy working with the coaches,” Avalos said. “It’s a young coaching staff with guys that work hard and work well together, and so I’m excited about that.”
Though Sac State may be comprised of some young coaches, first-year tight end coach Bush Hamdan is excited to see what the team can accomplish.
“I’m extremely excited to be here and extremely grateful that coach Sperbeck gave me to opportunity to be here,” Hamdan said. “I’m excited about the type of team that we can have, and I’m just doing whatever I can to get the team a little bit better.”
Before coming to Sac State, Avalos was the defensive graduate assistant at Colorado for three seasons. He then became the defensive line coach for Nebraska Kearney where he coached for two seasons.
Hamdan was member of the coaching staff at the University of Colorado and the University of Maryland before coming to Sac State.
In 2010, Hamdan was an offensive assistant where he assisted with coaching the quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Hamdan and Avalos share something in common – they both played on the same team during their collegiate playing days at Boise State.
Hamdan was the backup quarterback from 2005 to 2008 and Avalos was an outside linebacker from 2001 to 2004.
Avalos plans to contribute to the team by sharing some of the techniques he learned during his time at Boise State with the linebacker corps he now mentors.
Avalos was named All-Western Athletic Conference honors as an outside linebacker in his final two seasons.
He is also ranked fourth in Boise State history with 365 total tackles and led the team in tackles during his final three seasons.
In his college playing days, Hamdan has showed he is capable of coaching after he recommended the team execute the “Statue of Liberty” play in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
“It was just something I threw out there and the coach went with it,” Hamdan said.
Boise State received national attention after the trick play worked to perfection and allowed the Broncos to score the winning touchdown against the Oklahoma Sooners.
In their short time at Sac State, both Avalos and Hamdan have already earned the respect of their players.
Linebacker Jeff Badger is welcoming his new mentor with open arms in hopes of learning some methods used during Avalos’ playing days.
“I like him a lot,” Badger said. “Him coming from a big-time school like Boise State, he has a lot of techniques that he’s used that he can teach so that we can put it into our own game.”
Tight end Reese Heaslet is thrilled to have Hamdan as a coach and is excited to play for him when the fall season starts.
“I can’t say enough about him,” Heaslet said. “He’s been here for about a month and a half maybe two months, and I already love him.”
Heaslet said Hamdan’s approach when he is coaching is a characteristic that he looks for and admires in a coach.
“He’s just a coach that, as a player, you just hope you get a coach like him and that you love to play for,” Heaslet said. “In the meeting rooms it’s down to business but you know he really cares about you, cares about you as a person and it doesn’t get any better than that.”
You can reach Anthony Honrade at firstname.lastname@example.org