Coach Eric Marty has taken a very swift rise to the professional ranks with the USFL. With that being said his path has been fairly unique as well. Coming from a small division III school, he wound up playing professional football overseas in Italy and later Austria. After just four seasons as a player he was lured into coaching for the first time in 2013. Less than a decade later he finds himself in the USFL.
Having retired from pro football early in his career, and found a fast rise to the USFL at the college level Marty is still very young in terms of coaches. With many years of coaching ahead of him I could see a team viewing Marty as a candidate for their head coaching role after watching him navigate an interesting quarterback situation, and finding a rushing attack led by Reggie Corbin who previously had very little professional interest.
He also developed a role for guys like Ishmael Hyman and Lance Lenoir who found themselves signed by the NFL after just one season in the USFL. With Kirby Wilson already on the hot seat, and Jeff Fisher not getting any younger perhaps we see Marty as the succession plan to a more veteran coach that is shown the door.
USFL Not Just Elevating Players
This will be one of the more interesting storylines to watch in the USFL. Many coaches who chose the USFL as their next destination aren’t all that different from their players. Players looked at the USFL as a way to get to the next level in their career, many coaches are seeing it the same way. What that level they’re aiming for differs on a situation by situation basis but I see Marty as a guy who could raise his profile for future openings in 2023 and beyond.
Marty was a respected mind before he even joined the coaching ranks. Having dominated at the college level as a player where he still holds six school records, he received near immediate interest as a coach. However he opted to head overseas to play professionally in Italy and Austria hoping to latch on with an NFL franchise.
Marty gave it four years as a player before he stopped resisting offers to begin coaching for a profession. It took just one season as a position coach before a school saw him as a candidate to call plays. He was hired as the offensive coordinator by Moorpark where he again would spend a brief stint before seeing yet another promotion. This time to head coach.
Three Seasons of Experience and Three Promotions
After just three seasons of coaching experience, East Los Angeles College came calling for their next head coach. Marty accepted the offer. Despite ultimately taking the job, he opted to move on after just one season to Reedley College a JUCO program where he would last five seasons. This included an undefeated season in 2018 that led to a loss in the Championship game.
After five seasons, and weathering the storm that came with COVID in late 2019, Marty again moved on after 2020. This time to Division I program Grambling State as an offensive coordinator. While technically position wise a step down from head coach, it was actually a step up as far as his resume was concerned.
It was this opportunity with Grambling State that helped raise his profile enough to garner USFL interest for the 2022 season. Marty’s departure was quickly followed by two of his quarterbacks transferring to other schools giving us insight into his relationships with his players.
Quarterback Noah Bodden said “Yeah, he is a very passionate coach very fun to be coached by, he builds special relationships with all of his players so that he can learn them to know how to get the best out of them, he has a pass heavy offense, he’s a very confident coach as well”
Resume Uniquely Designed for Spring Football
After playing overseas then jumping into the college realm, Coach Marty has been immersed in the very group of players he has to choose from as a USFL coach. While Grambling State has put its fair share of players in the NFL, it isn’t known as a talent haven either. This could breed a situation where Marty has a unique insight into three more years of graduates coming from the school. Perhaps we even see him pairing with one of his former quarterbacks?
Ultimately as a young coach in his first stint as a professional football Offensive Coordinator, Eric Marty has been able to find success in the run game and pass game. In speaking with him, one of the main things he mentioned was that he began to understand why the Patriots often look like a totally different offense on a week to week basis. Which is ultimately how Marty was able to find success this season. He found a way to exploit what the defense was giving him.
This culminated in one of the best statistical games by any quarterback all season long in week 10. Paxton Lynch, a man that Coach Marty raves about, was the starter. Having dealt with an ankle injury most of the season since entering the game in week 3, Lynch still managed to light it up. In the game Lynch managed 22 of 30 for 275 yards 9.2 yard average, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception, while adding 19 rushing yards and 1 fumble that they did not lose.
First Overall Pick Back to Back Years
The USFL added a wrinkle just before that week 10 game between the Panthers and Maulers. Heading into the game each at 1-8, the league declared the winner, not the loser would take home the top overall pick in each round. The Panthers on the strength of that amazing performance by Lynch, won the game. They head into 2023, with the top overall pick, Lynch still on the roster, and momentum on their side. Can the Panthers rebound in 2023, and showcase the future head coaching candidate they currently have mentoring under Jeff Fisher?
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