Tyler Paopao has been named offensive coordinator of the Augustana University football team.
Paopao will join the AU staff after five seasons as the wide receivers and tight ends coach at the University of South Dakota. Previously, Paopao spent time as the offensive coordinator at Eastern Oregon and as a coach at Southeastern Louisiana.
“[Paopao’s] got a diverse background and he’s coached at multiple positions on the offensive side of the ball,” head coach Jerry Olszewski said. “He brings a fresh sense of offense and leadership, and he has a deep background that we think can help bring a championship.”
Paopao will lead the helm of an offense that averaged 26.4 points per game last season, seventh in the NSIC, and 334 yards per game, good for eighth in the NSIC. The offense will return multiple key starters next season from every position group.
“To be honest with you, a big part of me coming here was Coach OJ,” Paopao said. “Him sharing his vision, and his passion for the game, it’s a very emotion-driven game, and you can see that coming from him.”
Paopao also noted the Vikings’ recent success, the ability to coordinate and play-call again and the opportunity to work with quarterbacks as things that enticed him to pursue the role.
With the inability to get out on the field together, Paopao’s main goal has been to have discussions and find the easiest way to integrate the offense he wants to run with the offense that the players here know how to run and have been running.
“Football, very much, is a sport that forces a new language acquisition,” Paopao said. “We’re just trying to see what we can keep, what these players are familiar with while at the same time, adding some things and tweaking some things to make it all kind of fuse together.”
Bringing in a new offensive coordinator and system means plenty of communication and learning adjustments. Paopao will look to tackle this with a versatile leadership style.
“There are some teams where it is a little more necessary for coaches to be the voice of leadership,” Paopao said. “To be honest, those teams, in a lot of cases, are not as successful. Obviously, you have to provide leadership and be willing to do anything you are asking the players to do, but as little of it that can come from me is what I did. I’m not going to stay quiet when I think you’re doing things that are counterproductive to our goals. At the same time, I want to give players their chance to put their fingerprints on it.”
Olszewski noted “the system’s not broken, but it can be better.” This is what the team and the coaches are going to attempt to do this spring.
“I like to challenge our coaches in the spring,” Olszewski said. “Be better by the last practice than they were when we first take the field.”
Paopao is looking to maximize the players’ ability put in front of him.
“Having the ability to get the most out, motivate and, I think, to get to play above their perceived potential is a big part of coaching,” Paopao said. “That’s something that I look forward to doing. Looking forward to learning from these players as well as teaching them and leading them with the coaching staff.”
The football team will take the field for spring practices next month. Paopao understands the importance that these practices have for his new team.
“Any spring football is a great opportunity for people to improve their standing on a football team,” Paopao said. “It’s an exciting thing for me to be a part of. I think it’s going to be a big part of the process, the implementation of some new terminology and maybe some different approaches to execution. We are going to figure out how we as a unit can be great and how we are going to be complimentary to what our defense and special teams do as well.”
Seth is a graduate student at Augustana University. He currently serves as the sports editor.
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