Martin, BC coaches go from friends to foes

Thomas Gallick

Kent State football coach Doug Martin used to work with Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski at East Carolina, and still takes credit for one major success in Jagodzinski’s life: his marriage.

“I am the reason he is married to Lisa at this moment,” Martin said. “He tried everything he could to screw it up, and I just wouldn’t let him. He owes me that much anyway.”

The Flashes and the Eagles will meet for the first time in the schools’ histories at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Cleveland Browns Stadium in the FirstMerit Patriot Bowl.

Martin said it was obvious early on that Jagodzinski would be a prominent football coach. Jagodzinski coached at East Carolina from 1989 to 1996 before leaving for Boston College, and later, the pros.

Martin said the Eagles’ running game has been influenced by Jagodzinski’s time at East Carolina, and also Green Bay and Atlanta in the NFL .

“Their running game is very much an NFL-type zone-blocking scheme that (Jagodzinski) had done at Atlanta and Green Bay,” Martin said. “The rest of their offense is exactly like ours.”

Jagodzinski said he was excited for the chance to compete against his friend, who he considers a top-rate coach.

“Doug and I have remained friends for a long time,” Jagodzinski said. “I think Doug’s a really good football coach. I think he’s really creative.”

Some of Martin’s creativity as a coach could come from an inside source currently coaching at Boston College.

Boston College offensive coordinator Steve Logan served as coach at East Carolina when both Jagodzinski and Martin were on staff.

Martin said he views Logan as a mentor, and the two remain very good friends to this day.

“Steve and I, we talk probably a couple times each week actually, and we’re very close,” Martin said. “Games like this are hard because obviously we need to win, (and) they need to win. You don’t want your friends to lose.”

Martin said Logan was the driving force behind his becoming a college football coach.

Logan hired Martin to be the tight ends coach at East Carolina in 1992. From there, Martin was promoted to wide receivers coach and later, offensive coordinator.

“He’s a very special person in my life,” Martin said. “He’s really the reason I’m in college football. He gave me my first real break in this profession, and what I’ve learned of offensive football I’ve learned from Steve.”

Martin also said he and Logan “trade ideas all the time.”

Martin and Jagodzinski said their teams run offenses that show a stamp from their times at East Carolina. Martin said this has allowed him to use his first-team offense against the first-team defense to replicate the Eagles’ attack, instead of the usual scout team.

“We’re doing very little scout team stuff at this time because of the carryover (between offenses), and our defense is very similar to Boston College’s defense too,” Martin said.

Sophomore defensive back Brian Lainhart said the defense was helped out by the fact that both teams run similar offenses.

“It’s helped us a lot because we can go against our No. 1 offense (in practice) at game speed,” Lainhart said.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].