George Barnett Named ISU Football Offensive Coordinator
Dec. 14, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State football offensive line coach George Barnett was given the title of offensive coordinator Friday, as announced by head coach Brock Spack. Barnett will continue to work with the Redbird offensive line and assumes the responsibilities of Luke Huard, who accepted an assistant coaching position at Georgia State earlier in the week.
"George is very bright and has a great handle on what we've tried to accomplish at Illinois State offensively over the last three seasons," Spack said. "I think George will bring some new ideas to the table as our offensive coordinator, and I like the fact that he has a very common-sense approach to the game of football. He's an outstanding teacher, a great communicator, and I know the players think a lot of him and respect him greatly. With his ties to central Illinois and his track record of being a great coach and recruiter, I felt like it was a perfect fit to elevate George to the position of offensive coordinator."
Barnett completed his third year on the Illinois State coaching staff in 2012, serving as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator. He faced a difficult challenge heading into the 2012 season, having to replace five senior starters on the line due to graduation. His group responded, as the same five Redbirds (Josh Aladenoye, Mike Liedtke, Pete Cary, Rocco Ammons and Jermaine Barton) started all 13 games and surrendered just 14 sacks all season, ranking the group No. 14 in the country in fewest sacks allowed per game.
After the season, Cary was named an All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First-Team selection at center and Aladenoye and Barton were selected for the MVFC All-Newcomer Team, after transferring from Oklahoma and Miami, respectively.
"I am excited to have this opportunity and be accountable for the Redbird offense moving forward," Barnett stated. "We have great leadership in the program from the top with Coach Spack and our players have done a great job and worked hard to achieve their goals in my past three seasons at ISU. I look forward to working with the other offensive assistants, who will be involved in all aspects of the offense, and we will do everything we can to keep the Redbird football program moving forward."
During the 2011 season, the Redbird offensive line was one of the best in the country, as they ranked No. 3 in the country in fewest sacks allowed with just six given up all year. The senior-laden group also led the way for a rushing attack that averaged 183 yards per game on the ground, an improvement by over 50 yards per game from the previous season. For their efforts, senior Cal McCarthy was named a First-Team All-MVFC performer and fellow senior Nick Bledsoe was named to the All-MVFC Second Team. Rounding out the group was senior Cody White, who was tabbed as an All-MVFC Honorable Mention selection.
In his first year with the Redbirds, the offensive line unit helped protect Redbird quarterbacks and led the way for an offense that averaged 258.4 yards per game and finished the season ranked 16th in the nation in passing offense. With an experienced group of lineman that included 2009 All-MVFC second-team selection Bledsoe and 2010 All-MVFC second-team selection McCarthy, the Redbirds recorded the seventh-highest scoring total in school history (321) and team's highest total since scoring 324 in 2007.
Barnett came to Illinois State, following a two-year stint as the offensive line coach at Division II powerhouse Grand Valley State, which advanced to the 2009 NCAA Division II national title game. The Tuscola, Ill., native thrived in his two seasons at GVSU as offensive line coach and helped the Lakers' offense become one of the best in the country. In 2009, GVSU ranked third in the country in sacks allowed (.60) after giving up just nine sacks in 15 games played. The Lakers also ranked 11th in the country in rushing offense (227.5 ypg), 12th in total offense (450.1 ypg) and 14th in scoring offense (35.8 ppg). Barnett also mentored senior Nick McDonald, who was a consensus Division II All-American and the GLIAC Offensive Lineman of the Year.
In 2008, Barnett guided the GVSU offensive line unit that saw all five of its starters (Sam Allen, Cameron Bradfield, Billy Eisenhardt, Nick McDonald and Jacob Topp) earn All-GLIAC honors. The Lakers finished the season ranked 10th in the nation in scoring (38.5 ppg), 13th in sacks allowed (1.08), 14th in rushing (228.4 ypg) and 25th in total offense (429.0 ypg).
Prior to his stint at GVSU, Barnett was the offensive line coach at Indianapolis for three seasons. The Greyhound offense increased its production every season behind the Barnett-led offensive line. Indianapolis recorded four-year highs offensively in passing yards (234.1 ypg), rushing offense (189.2 ypg) and total offense (423.3 ypg) in 2007.
Prior to his arrival at Indianapolis, Barnett spent the 2004 season at Illinois where he was a graduate assistant and worked with the offensive line and coordinated the defensive scout team for the Illini. Barnett began his coaching career and taught for five years at Mattoon (Ill.) High School from 1999-2003. He served as assistant head coach for the Green Wave's state semifinalist team in 2003, working as offensive coordinator and coach of both the offensive and defensive lines. Barnett also served one year as Mattoon's varsity line coach and sophomore defensive coordinator, before becoming the varsity offensive coordinator.
Barnett earned a bachelor of science degree in physical education in 1998 from Millikin in Decatur, Ill. He was a four-year football letterwinner for the Big Blue and earned all-conference plaudits. In addition, he was named to the National Dean's List while at Millikin. Barnett and his wife, Lori, are the parents of Elle and James.
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