Nussmeier Accepts NFL Coaching Position
Spartan quarterbacks coach is reunited with Scott Linehan, his former college position coach.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Doug Nussmeier, who served as Michigan State's
quarterbacks coach for the last three years, has resigned to accept a
similar position with the National Football League's St. Louis Rams, Spartan
fourth-year head coach John L. Smith confirmed Monday, Feb. 6. Smith said
the search for an assistant coach already is underway.
St. Louis first-year head coach Scott Linehan has connections with both
Smith and Nussmeier. Linehan spent five years as an assistant coach under
Smith, first at Idaho (1992-93), where he mentored Nussmeier in his role as
quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, and later at Louisville
In St. Louis, Nussmeier also is reunited for MSU's all-time leading passer
Jeff Smoker, who was selected by the Rams in the sixth round of the 2004 NFL
"I've had a wonderful experience at Michigan State, so this is a bittersweet
move for me," Nussmeier said. "I've learned a tremendous amount from John L.
Smith, who ranks among the NCAA's winningest active coaches. John L. cares
deeply about everyone associated with the Michigan State football program,
from the coaches and players to the support staff and secretaries. He's the
ultimate team guy because everyone in the program is important to him.
"I respect John L. a great deal because he hasn't taken the easy route in
rebuilding this program. He doesn't believe in quick fixes. John L. has gone
about building this program the right way and the administration's patience
will be rewarded. I firmly believe that this MSU football program is on the
verge of doing great things.
"This is an opportunity - both personally and professionally - that I couldn
't pass up. Scott Linehan and I have been together before, and Scott had a
great influence on my playing career at Idaho. I really look forward to
learning more about the game, coaching at the professional level."
"Doug Nussmeier played for me and coached for me, so he's like a son to me,"
Smith said. "You hate to see anyone leave the program, particularly a coach,
but this is a career move that Doug had to make. NFL teams have been
pursuing him for the last three years, so it's time for him to teach and
learn at the next level.
"He's going to work for a great coach in Scott Linehan, who also happens to
be part of the family. I told Scottie this at one point in his coaching
career - and I told Doug the same thing last week - you have to make the
jump to the NFL, because you never know how long the window of opportunity
will be open. I also reminded them both that you can always come back to the
"There's no question that Doug will grow as a coach under Scottie, who
received consideration for several head jobs this winter because he's
developed a reputation for thinking outside the box. Offensively, he's isn't
afraid to take chances. Scottie shares the one-back philosophy: spread the
field and throw the football. However, he has adapted well to the pro game,
adding multiple sets, with two backs or two tight ends."
In 2005, Nussmeier tutored Drew Stanton, who accounted for a Spartan
single-season record 3,415 total yards. Stanton also became only the second
quarterback in school history to reach the 3,000-yard passing milestone in a
season. The 6-foot-3, 222-pound junior completed nearly 67 percent (236 of
354) of his passes for 3,077 yards, 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Stanton, one of 15 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback
Award, ranked second in the Big Ten and No. 10 in the NCAA in passing
efficiency with his 153.4 rating. He ranked second in the Big Ten and No. 8
in the NCAA in total offense, averaging 310.5 yards per game. Stanton also
finished second in the league in passing yards (279.9 per game) and TD
"I was very emotional when I informed the Spartan quarterbacks that I would
be leaving for a coaching position in the NFL," Nussmeier said. "Telling
Drew Stanton, who has elected to return for his fifth year, that we wouldn't
be working together next season was one of the hardest things about this
decision. Drew is a great player, but an even better person. He's a
remarkable competitor and next season, I really think his maturity will show
and he'll have an outstanding year and help Michigan State accomplish some
In 2004, Stanton produced 2,288 total yards and 13 TDs. He completed
141-of-220 throws for 1,601 yards and eight scores. Stanton also finished
third on the team in rushing with 687 yards on 96 carries and five TDs. His
687 yards represent the second-best single-season rushing total by a
quarterback in Spartan history.
Nussmeier deserved much of the credit for the rapid adjustment Smoker made
to the spread offense in 2003. Smoker, a second-team All-Big Ten selection,
led the league in passing (261.2 yards per game) and total offense (252.2
ypg.). His 302 pass completions, 488 pass attempts, 3,395 passing yards and
21 TD passes all represent the top single-season totals in Spartan history.
He recorded 10 200-yard passing games, including six 300-yard performances.
Smoker became the first Spartan quarterback to be drafted since 1996 when
Tony Banks went in the second round to the Rams.
The 35-year-old Nussmeier came to Michigan State following two years as an
assistant coach in the Canadian Football League.
In 2002, he served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Joe
Paopao for the expansion Ottawa Renegades. Ottawa ranked seventh in the CFL
in passing offense, averaging 221.0 yards per game, with quarterback Dan
Crowley throwing for 2,513 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Nussmeier spent the 2001 season as quarterbacks coach with the British
Columbia Lions. In 2001, B.C. finished third in the CFL in total offense
(357.8 yards per game) and fifth in passing offense (246.1 yards). Lion QB
Damon Allen ranked among the league leaders in TD passes (fourth with 18)
and passing yards (fifth with 3,631).
He finished his professional football career in 2000, playing in 18
regular-season and three playoff games for Grey Cup champion British
Columbia. Nussmeier completed 54-of-94 throws (.574) for 768 yards, six TDs
and two interceptions. He also rushed for 183 yards and a score. In a 49-42
overtime loss to Edmonton, Nussmeier threw for 178 yards and three TDs.
Nussmeier, a fourth-round selection (No. 116 overall) by New Orleans in
1994, spent five years in the National Football League, including four
seasons with the Saints (1994-97). While in New Orleans, he played in seven
regular-season games, including one start each in 1996 and 1997. During his
four years with the Saints, Nussmeier connected on 46-of-82 passes (.561)
for 455 yards, one TD and four interceptions. He joined the Indianapolis
Colts in 1998.
A native of Lake Oswego, Ore., he was a four-year starter for Coach John L.
Smith at Idaho from 1990-93. Nussmeier still ranks among the NCAA I-AA
all-time leaders in passing (No. 9 with 10,824 career yards) and total
offense (No. 10 at 309.1 yards per game). He is one of only three
quarterbacks in NCAA history to throw for at least 10,000 yards and rush for
1,000 yards (1,230), joining Alcorn State's Steve McNair (1991-94) and
Central Florida's Daunte Culpepper (1996-98). Nussmeier set Vandal career
records for passing yards, TD passes (91), passing efficiency (175.2),
completion percentage (.609, 746-1,225) and total offense (12,054 yards;
308.4 yards per game).
In 1993, Nussmeier won the Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the
I-AA player of the year, after leading the Vandals to an 11-3 record overall
and a trip to the national semifinals. As a senior, he completed 185-of-304
throws (.609) for 2,960 yards and a school-record 33 TDs. His 172.2 QB
rating in 1993 ranks as the seventh-best single-season mark in I-AA history.
Married to the former Christi Hebert, Nussmeier and his wife have two
children: Garrett and Ashlynn.
Story Courtesy of MSU