Oregon State has been searching for a new running backs coach since Michael Pitre left to join the Chicago Bears, and it appears that they have found their man. Reports, confirmed by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, have emerged that the Beavers have landed former Arizona Running Back Coach AJ Steward to take over the job.
Steward has been only been with the Wildcats for one season, but left when the program brought on new head coach Jedd Fisch, and hired Scottie Graham to handle the running game. During Steward’s one year in Tucson, the Wildcats rushed for 782 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and 156 yards per game. The team had a terrible year, but the running game didn’t look half bad.
Prior to Arizona, Steward coached the running backs at BYU. His units posted similar success there, averaging around 150 yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry. Before BYU, he was a running back coach for Rice, where his coaching career started as a graduate assistant.
Steward has been coaching running backs for nearly a decade at this point, and seems to be pretty good at it. The running game has been crucial to Oregon State’s success throughout the years, from Jermar Jefferson under Pitre to Ryan Nall before him and all the way back to Steven Jackson. Steward should be able to keep the running game strong.
UPDATE: The school has made it official.