Bodie Reeder’s balanced, high-octane offense – a unit that averaged 528 yards and 43 points a game in 2018 – helped Eastern Washington reach its second Football Championship Subdivision title game in nine years.
The young offensive coordinator leveraged that success to a bigger school and much bigger paycheck at North Texas in 2019 before accepting the same position at Utah State earlier this year.
Jeff Schmedding’s hard-hitting, senior-heavy defense was just as menacing EWU’s 2018 national title game run, allowing 20 points a game against FCS foes while forcing 34 turnovers.
Schmedding, EWU’s defensive coordinator, ultimately earned the same job at Mountain West Conference Power and Top 25 regular Boise State the following season.
When the Mountain West begins its abbreviated football season on Saturday, Reeder’s Aggies will visit Schmedding’s Broncos on BSU’s famed blue turf.
Their friendship started on red turf.
“Our wives are friends, our kids are friends and played at each other’s houses. We have a good relationship.” Reeder said Tuesday. “(Boise State will) play extremely sound and fly to the football. That was Jeff’s hallmark at EWU.”
Schmedding, a University High grad, believes the 34-year-old Reeder is a good play-caller.
“Anytime you face someone you’re friends with or spent a lot of time with, it’s a unique situation,” Schmedding said. “I try not to get too caught up with it. We’ll be friends afterward, but this week it’s business.
“He’s doing the same thing. He does a good job. I have a ton of respect for him, but it’s our job to break him down and get our defense ready to go.
Reeder spent two seasons at EWU, grooming All-American quarterbacks Gage Gubrud and Eric Barriere in 2017 and 2018.
When Gubrud went down with a season-ending injury heading into Week 6 in 2018, Barriere made a seamless transition as a starter, leading the Eagles’ explosive offense to a share of the Big Sky title and a trip the national title game, falling to FCS juggernaut North Dakota State.
Reeder was previously an assistant quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma State, where he helped prep future NFL draft pick Mason Rudolph.
He replaced current USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell at North Texas in 2019 and inherited All-Conference USA quarterback Mason Fine.
It was a short stay.
Following a disappointing 4-8 season, North Texas coach Seth Littrell fired Reeder and defensive coordinator Troy Reffett.
Weeks later, Utah State head coach Gary Anderson hired Reeder.
“Everywhere he’s gone, he’s taken a step forward,” Andersen said in Reeder’s introductory press conference. “We were looking for somebody that is a great quarterback teacher, can run a room, can be the general manager of the offense and is tough. That’s what we’ve got.” Utah State, which went 7-6 last season with eventual first-round draft pick quarterback Jordan Love, now looks to Utah transfer quarterback Jason Shelley.
Shelley played two seasons at Utah under offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, Reeder’s predecessor at EWU, who is now the reigning FCS National Coach of the Year at Sacramento State.
“It’s been a great transition,” Reeder said. “We’ve had a short amount of time to get this going (due to coronavirus delays). Been working on getting our quarterbacks and receivers on the same page.”
Schmedding’s first year at Boise State in 2019 was alongside offensive coordinator Zak Hill, a former EWU quarterbacks coach now at Arizona State, a season in which the No. 22 Broncos went 12-2 and 8-0 Mountain West play.
BSU yielded 21.9 points and 347 yards per game.
The Broncos, picked to win another Mountain West title in 2020, were handled by Washington 38-7 in last season’s Las Vegas Bowl, Chris Petersen’s final game as Huskies head coach before handing the program over to defensive coordinator and former EWU safety Jimmy Lake.
Schmedding is proud to continue seeing former EWU coaches reach a higher level.
“It’s a fantastic place, it really is,” Schmedding said of EWU, where he coached for more than a decade. “ … Great people up there, for sure.”
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