While no official announcement has been made, we now have a good idea of who’s taking over Dante Scarnecchia’s duties as offensive line coach.
Patriots center David Andrews revealed Tuesday on a video conference call with the media that Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo have been leading the offensive line room in meetings this offseason. That comes as no major surprise after Scarnecchia’s offseason retirement.
Popovich is in his fifth season with the Patriots. He spent the first three years as a coaching assistant, helping Scarnecchia with the offensive line. Popovich earned an official title as assistant running backs coach in 2019, but it seems he’s heading back to the O-line.
Bricillo spent last season as a coaching assistant, specializing in the offensive line.
“Cole Popovich and Carm, it’s not like it’s someone they brought in and a lot of us haven’t even met,” Andrews said. “These are guys that — Cole’s been there for a while. Carm’s been there since last year. Pretty much everyone in the room right now other than the rookies have a relationship with those guys, are familiar with them. I think that helps a lot. Having those guys that we’ve been around for a long time and have been in our system helps a lot because there’s a lot of continuity there.”
Popovich, 35, played offensive line at Fresno State. He coached at Minot State, Utah State, Fresno City College and Los Angeles Valley College before coming to the Patriots in 2016.
Bricillo, 43, previously coached at Youngstown State, Illinois, Akron, Duquesne and Indiana Area High School. He was a center at Duquesne.
Andrews missed the 2019 season with blood clots in his lungs in what he referred to as a “freak accident.” He said Tuesday that he’s fortunate to be able to continue playing football in 2020. The Patriots’ entire starting offensive line — Andrews, left tackle Isaiah Wynn, left guard Joe Thuney, right guard Shaq Mason and right tackle Marcus Cannon — is returning in 2020, though they did lose top backup Ted Karras in free agency to the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s great having those guys, especially the four — Marcus, Shaq, Joe, I played a lot of football with them,” Andrews said. “Obviously didn’t play much with Isaiah last year, but played a lot of football with them. A lot of those guys have played a lot of football and now it’s going into Isaiah’s third year in the league.”