Offensive Coaching Staff

 

Blake Rolan
Offensive Coordinator/QBs

Blake Rolan was named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at SIU on Dec. 10, 2018. Rolan was the offensive coordinator at Division II Dixie State in 2018 and also has 10 years of experience on Division I FBS staffs. In his only season at Dixie State, Rolan's offense averaged 458.5 total yards and 31 points per game.

Prior to Dixie State, Rolan worked the 2017 season as an offensive analyst on Mark Stoops' staff at Kentucky, where he helped lead the Wildcats to a 7-6 record and a bid to the Music City Bowl. Before his stint at UK, Rolan served as wide receivers coach under Tommy Tuberville at Cincinnati from 2013-16 and helped guide the Bearcats to three bowl appearances in four seasons.

A Georgia native, Rolan was a walk-on tight end at Middle Tennessee State from 2000 to 2003 and graduated from Louisville in 2005. His first coaching job was as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Kentucky Country Day High School. His first college coaching position was a graduate assistant spot on the staff at Auburn.

After a one-year stint as running backs coach at West Georgia in 2009, Rolan worked in quality control at the University of Tennessee for then-offensive coordinator and current Georgia OC Jim Chaney from 2010-12.

Rolan Coaching Highlights

University of Tennessee (2010-2012)
The 2012 Tennessee offense finished with 5,711 yards, ranking 2nd in school history while First-Team All SEC WR, Cordarrelle Patterson set UT’s single-season all-purpose yards record with 1,858 yards. Second-Team All SEC WR, Justin Hunter, grabbed 73 balls for 1,083 yards and 9 TD’s recording the 2nd most in school history.

University of Cincinnati (2013-16)
Between 2013 and 2016, the UC offense produced three of the most prolific seasons in the 128 years of football. In three of four seasons in Clifton, UC’s offense produced 6,137 yards of total offense in 2013, 5,982 yards in 2014, and a school-record mark of 6,711 yards through 12 games in 2015. The Bearcats set 18 offensive school records.

WR Shaq Washington ended his career as the school record holder in both career and single season receptions tallying 240 career catches and 90 receptions in 2015. Chris Moore set the all-time TD receptions record with 26 and holds the NCAA FBS record with 73.7 yards per catch against Ohio State.

Dixie State University (2018)
Set a school record with 3,558 total passing yards and total yards with 5,044 during the 2018 season. Set season record for yards per game with 458.5. Finished 5th in the country in passing offense and 17th in total offense.

Playing with a torn ACL, QB Michael Sanders started the last 4 games of the season and averaged 455 yds/game passing with 10 TD’s while completing 65% of his passes. He won National Player of the Week honors and beat the undefeated, #6 team in the country while passing for a school record 553 yards and 5 TD’s.

 

Nate Griffin
Offensive Coordinator/QBs

Nate Griffin joined Nick Hill’s staff as running backs coach in 2016. Griffin came to Carbondale from Minnesota, where he spent four seasons in the Big Ten on the Golden Gophers staff.

In his first season coaching the SIU backs, Griffin led one of the most well-rounded backfields in the country. The Salukis ran for more than 1,500 yards, with six different players running for more than 100 yards. Jonathan Mixon led all MVFC backs during the regular season with 10 touchdowns, and D.J. Davis earned All-MVFC return specialist and a spot on the MVFC All-Newcomer team.

Davis was one of the most electric freshmen backs in the nation in 2016, ranking among the national leaders in kick return average and all-purpose yards per game among freshmen. In 2017, he led the MVFC in receptions by a running back with 35 and led the team with 1,373 all-purpose yards. In 2018, he earned All-MVFC honors, rushed for 1,118 yards and led the conference in all-purpose yardage. Griffin also mentored  running back Jonathan Mixon, a power back who finished his career with 19 touchdowns, tied for 14th all-time at SIU.

As recruiting coordinator, Griffin made an immediate impact, earning recognition from Hero Sports for bringing in some of the top recruits in the FCS in 2016.

Griffin served as a quality control assistant on offense for Minnesota, working with opponent scouting, self scouting and day-to-day operations of the offense. He came to Minnesota from Truman State, where he coached the defensive line in 2011. In addition to working with former SIU coach Jerry Kill at Minnesota, Griffin worked with Kill as a graduate assistant at Northern Illinois in 2008 and 2009, working with running backs and fullbacks.

Griffin also has coaching stints at Northern Colorado and Idaho, where he played for the Vandals from 2000-03. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Idaho and a master’s degree in sports administration from Northern Colorado. Griffin and his wife, Amy, have one daughter and one son.

 

Trevor Olson
Offensive Line

Trevor Olson has coached the offensive line for Saluki Football since 2016. Olson came to SIU from Minnesota, where he served under former SIU coach Jerry Kill as an offensive graduate assistant for three seasons and in the player personnel department in 2012.

Olson managed a seven-deep rotation that paved the way for Southern’s record-setting offense in 2016, when the Salukis led the MVFC in passing yards and passing yards per game. The unit protected quarterbacks Josh Straughan and Sam Straub, who together broke SIU’s program record for passing yards in a season. The Salukis were also prolific on the ground, running for 19 touchdowns, including 10 by Jonathan Mixon, who led the MVFC in touchdowns during the regular season. Left tackle Austin Olsen was named All-MVFC on the offensive line.

The offensive line was best down the stretch in 2016, allowing only five sacks in 175 dropbacks over the final four games of the season. Facing a Youngstown State team that led the nation in sacks per game, Olson’s unit walled-up and allowed Straub to pass for 366 yards, the first time anyone had ever thrown for more than 300 yards against one of Bo Pelini’s Youngstown defenses.

In 2017, SIU averaged 400 yards per game of total offense for the third-straight year, and Saluki quarterbacks passed for 26 touchdowns — the fourth most in school history.

While at SIU, Olson has mentored All-Conference linemen including Austin Olsen and two-time Academic All-American Jacob Marnin.

Olson played offensive tackle for Kill at Northern Illinois, where he started an NCAA-record 54 games during his career. He was a two-time consensus All-MAC selection and earned national recognition on preseason watch lists for the Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award. He was a fourth-team All-American in 2011.

As a player, Olsen helped NIU rank 11th nationally in both total offense and rushing offense in 2011, while the 2010 Huskies ranked seventh nationally in rushing offense.

 

Pat Poore
Tight Ends / Fullbacks / Special Teams

With a proven record as one of the top position coaches in the nation, Pat Poore returned to Carbondale in 2017 for his second stint as an assistant coach for the Salukis. He coaches SIU’s, tight ends, fullbacks and special teams.

Poore served on Jerry Kill’s staffs at SIU, Northern Illinois and Minnesota from 2001-2015. He coached at Minnesota from 2011-16, coaching wide receivers (2011-13) and running backs (2014-16). Poore was named the Big Ten Special Teams Coach of the Year after the 2016 season.

Under Poore’s leadership, David Cobb broke Minnesota’s season rushing record and was a fifth-round NFL Draft pick.

From 2001-07, Poore coached quarterbacks at SIU, helping turn the program from a one-win season in 2001 to a championship team that made five-straight FCS Playoff appearances from 2003-07. He mentored two of the best quarterbacks in school history. Joel Sambursky was the 2004 MVFC Player of the Year, and Nick Hill led the program to the FCS Playoffs semifinals in 2007. 

Prior to SIU, Poore was an assistant coach at Central Oklahoma (1999-2000), Tarleton State (1997-99) and Panhandle State (1995-96). Poore also served as head coach at Iowa Wesleyan in 1994 and 1995. He was an assistant coach at Iowa Wesleyan from 1992-94. Poore’s coaching career has also included stops at Colorado School of Mines (1990-91) and the University of Chicago (1991-92).

Poore began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Fort Hays (Kan.) State in 1985. In 1987, he took a full-time position with Fort Hays State, while also coaching the Tigers’ baseball team. In 1988, he gave up the baseball duties and was promoted to offensive coordinator, a role he served in until 1989. Poore is a graduate of Stockton (Kan.) High School

Poore and his wife Gwen have two grown children, Trevor and Taylor.

 

Nick Williams
Wide Receivers, Pro Liaison

Nick Williams is in his third season coaching the wide receivers for Saluki Football and also serves as the program's pro liaison with NFL teams. He got his start playing and coaching for Nick Saban at Alabama, where he played wide receiver and helped lead the Crimson Tide to National Championships in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Alabama posted a 49-5 record during his playing career and won two SEC Championships.

After graduating from Alabama with a degree in Business Management in 2012, he began his coaching career as an intern and offensive analyst for the Crimson Tide. He was responsible for wide receiver scrimmage production and organized and ran the scout team offense.

After serving one season as the offensive graduate assistant at Valdosta State in 2013, Williams joined the staff at Jacksonville State, where he  coached wide receivers for three seasons. The Gamecocks went 23-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference during that time and spent 11 weeks at No. 1 in the nation in 2015 before losing in the national championship game.

Williams’ receiving corps set a school record with 3,102 receiving yards in 2015. Josh Barge was a first-team All-OVC wide receiver after hauling in 92 catches for 1,145 yards and 11 touchdowns, all school records.

In his first season at SIU in 2017, SIU’s receiving corps posted 18 touchdowns, led by junior Darrell James, who had 47 catches for 773 yards and eight TDs. James earned All-Conference honors.

In 2018, SIU’s offense featured one of the league’s top wideouts in Raphael Leonard, who led the team with 57 catches for 847 yards and 7 TDs. After the season, he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Williams is a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and prepped at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. His father, Bobby Williams, is currently the special teams coordinator for the Oregon Ducks. Previously, served as a special assistant to Nick Saban at Alabama after serving as the Crimson Tide’s tight ends coach and special teams coordinator. He was the head coach at Michigan State from 2000-02.