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Gonzales to coach receivers at State

February 14, 2013

Billy Gonzales talks about his plans as wide receivers coach for Mississippi State on Wednesday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen will see a familiar face around the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Mullen had hired former Illinois assistant coach Billy Gonzales to coach wide receivers.

"I think Billy's the premier receiver coach in the United States," Mullen said at Wednesday night's media gathering to introduce Gonzales. "I've had the opportunity to work with him before. He's like coached seven All-Southeastern Conference wide receivers in his time in this conference as well as developing two 1,000-yard receivers in one season. Just about everywhere he's gone, his receivers have broken records. The opportunity to get one of the best receiver coaches in the country is huge."

Brewster has spent 20 years in college football and has coached in three Bowl Championship Series National championship games. 

“I want to thank coach Mullen for letting me be a part of this program here and the Mississippi State Bulldog family," Gonzales said. "I’m extremely excited to get going here. I’ve got a ton of respect for the coaching staff here on the defensive side of the ball and the offensive side of the ball, and having had a chance to work with some of them.”

Tim Brewster who coached wide receivers last season will now coach tight ends. Scott Sallach who has coached tight ends ever since his arrival at MSU in 2009, now holds the title of coordinator of football scouting.

"Billy and I talk all the time," Mullen said. "It was something that we discussed. With where we were, we weren't going to do anything until after signing day. After signing day, we had the opportunity to go look at things and evaluate things. (We) had the chance to put it together this way. We are really excited.

"It wasn't that we were trying to stir and change things up. I talked to Bill and he said he would be pretty interested. (It was a) pretty easy decision to make it fit and work on your staff."

Brewster played tight end at Illinois and coached the position for the San Diego Chargers, the Denver Broncos, North Carolina and Texas.

"I obviously coached tight ends for a long time at a number of different places," Brewster said.

Brewster and safeties coach Tony Hughes will also add the title of assistant head coach.

"I'm in a great place in my career where I think I can kind of help where is needed," Brewster said. "I have been a head coach and understand all the things that go along with that. When Dan brought this situation up, I thought it was absolutely natural to bring in a guy like Billy Gonzales who I think is an outstanding wide receiver coach."

Mullen and Gonzales worked together for eight years at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. 

“There’s something special when you’ve had an opportunity to have been in a foxhole with somebody before," Gonzales said. "You have an opportunity to see how they respond and how they interact when the pressure is on, so it’s always welcoming to have that opportunity to get back in that foxhole with somebody that you’ve been in there with before.”

Gonzales spent last year as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for the Illini. Prior to his time in Champaign, Gonzales spent 2010 and 2011 as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach for the LSU Tigers. He helped the Tigers reach the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. 

Before his time in Baton Rouge, he spent five years coach wide receivers at Florida with Mullen. He was a part of both the 2006 and 2008 national title teams.

During his time with the Gators, Gonzales has coached 2009 first-round NFL draft pick Percy Harvin and second-round selection Chad Jackson. He also coached now Philadelphia Eagle Riley Cooper. 

“For me, I’m going to hit this thing running as fast as I can," Gonzales said. "My job is to continue to educate my players, make sure they’re living life right off the field socially, academically, and help them if they need any spiritual guidance, and obviously to prepare these guys as young men. We’ve got a great group of people to work with here. I'm fired up to be a Bulldog."

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