Football team dismisses 5 offensive coaches

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Rob Le Cates | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern Running back Harrison Bey-Buie is handed the ball by quarterback Otto Kuhns at Saturday in Eastern’s Homecoming Game against Tennessee State on Oct. 23 at O’Brien Field. The Panthers lost 28-0.

Autumn Schulz, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern football team let go of five members of its offensive coaching staff following the conclusion of the 2021 season.  

Those who are no longer on staff include offensive coordinator and super backs coach John Kuceyeski, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Mark Philmore, offensive line coach Dan Hernandez, running backs and co-special teams coach Omar Young and quarterbacks coach Chris Batti. 

Head coach Adam Cushing said in a statement that he felt that it was time for a change in leadership. 

“I want to thank John Kuceyeski, Mark Philmore, Dan Hernandez, Omar Young, and Chris Batti for their hard work to help us lay the foundation for this program. They are men of high character and terrific servant leaders. We have achieved unprecedented excellence in the classroom and community. At the same time, a large part of our job, as coaches, is to help our young man create and sustain that level of excellence on the football field. Offensively, we have not achieved that standard of excellence that will enable our team to consistently win football games and I felt it was time for a change in leadership. I believe strongly in the capabilities of the young men in our program, and we have a bright future because our football family truly loves one another and is excited for the hard work ahead this off-season.” 

The Panthers concluded their season against Murray State last Saturday, putting their record at 1-10. As Cushing enters his fourth season as head coach here at Eastern, the Panthers are 3-26 overall. 

The Panthers averaged 14.5 points per game this season, ranking 116th out of 123 FCS teams. They ranked 111th in both rushing offense, 92.2 yards per game, and in turnovers lost, 23. As a result, opponents were able to score 78 points off of turnovers.  

The offense also ranked last in several OVC categories including scoring offense, total offense, rushing offense, and pass efficiency, which was 91 percent on the season.  

Three different quarterbacks saw opportunities to lead the team offensively this season: Otto Kuhns, Chris Katrenick, and Zach Weir. All three quarterbacks combined for eight touchdown passes and 17 interceptions. Kuhns, who was slated in the starting position for the season, threw for 1134 yards and 6 touchdown passes, ending the season with a 46.5 percent passing completion. 

Kuhns has since entered the NCAA transfer portal along with several other members of the team including freshman offensive linemen Bryson Broadway and Daegan Bush and freshman wide receiver Arron Foulkes, the second leading wide receiver for the Panthers.  

The Panthers can expect back redshirt senior wide receiver Isaiah Hill who missed a large portion of the season but ended the season with 39 catches for 493 yards, earning second team All-OVC honors. 

Sophomore running back Harrison Bey-Buie is also expected to make a return. Bey-Buie earned All-OVC Newcomer team honors after leading the Panthers’ rushing game with 479 yards, including four touchdowns.

 

Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]