TJ Woods has left Western Kentucky for another opportunity, and Tyson Helton has quickly found his replacement.
Helton hired Southern California support staffer and 12-year NFL lineman Mike Goff as the Hilltoppers’ new offensive line coach, the Daily News learned Tuesday. His hire came after Woods left WKU to reunite with former boss Gary Andersen at Utah State, one of his former coaching stops.
This will be Goff’s first job as a full-time college position coach. He worked at USC since 2015 as a support staffer who helped with the Trojans’ offensive line on the staff of Tyson Helton’s older brother, Clay Helton.
Goff and Tyson Helton’s time at USC overlapped during the 2016 and ’17 seasons, when Helton was the Trojans’ quarterbacks coach. New WKU offensive coordinator Bryan Ellis has worked at USC with Goff each of the last two seasons.
While working in Los Angeles, Goff coached tackles Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler, both of whom were First Team All-Americans in 2016.
Goff, 41, played 12 years in the NFL as an offensive guard with the Cincinnati Bengals (1998-2003), San Diego Chargers (2004-08) and Kansas City Chiefs (2009). He started 154 of his 171 career games and was an All-Pro in 2005.
He lettered four years (1994-97) as a guard at Iowa, starting two seasons. Iowa played in the 1995 and 1997 Sun Bowls and the 1996 Alamo Bowl. He was a third-round pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Bengals.
Before his college and pro careers, Goff played football (prep All-American) and wrestled (sectional heavyweight champ) at LaSalle (Ill.) Peru High School.
Goff inherits an offensive line from Woods that returns six players who started at least three games in 2018: tackles Parker Howell, Miles Pate and Cole Spencer, guards Jordan Meredith and Tyler Witt and center Seth Joest. Pate was a Second-Team All-Conference USA pick this season as a redshirt junior.
WKU’s offensive line made vast improvements from 2017 to 2018 under Woods, who replaced Geoff Dartt as the unit’s coach.
The Toppers allowed 2.67 sacks per game in 2018 after allowing 3.69 per game the year before. They also improved in yards per carry (2.02 to 3.74), rushing yards per game (60.85 to 136.83) and tackles for loss allowed per game (7.77 to 6.08).
Woods is leaving WKU to reunite with Andersen, who was recently hired for his second stint at Utah State. The two men previously coached together at Utah State (2009-12), Wisconsin (2013-14) and Oregon State (2015-17).
Goff will become the Hilltoppers’ fifth offensive line coach in as many seasons. He follows Woods (2018), Dartt (2017), Dale Williams (2016) and Neil Callaway (2013-15) in that role.