TEMPE, Ariz. — Chip Lindsey is living like a tourist in a foreign nation. He doesn’t speak the language, every day offers new sights and sounds and home is a hotel room.
“It’s not bad,” Lindsey said, laughing. “Clean towels, clean sheets and they always make your bed. What’s not to like?”
Even though Arizona State’s new offensive coordinator has been on the job less than a week and has yet to learn the Sun Devils’ terminology, the natives seem to like him, too.
“I don’t know how many hours I’ve actually had with coach Lindsey but I can tell you I love him already,” soon-to-be departing senior quarterback Mike Bercovici said. “I’m jealous. I wish I had more time with him.”
Arizona State officially announced Lindsey’s hiring on Friday. He will replace Mike Norvell, who was hired as the head coach at Memphis. Lindsey spent the past season as Southern Mississippi’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and was an offensive analyst for 2013-14 national runner-up Auburn.
Lindsey won’t call plays when the Sun Devils face West Virginia in the Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2 at Chase Field, but he will coach the quarterbacks and serve as an eye in the pressbox at the game as he tries to learn as much about his personnel as possible before the three-month break that precedes spring ball.
“Getting out and getting started with these guys in advance of spring practice has been a huge advantage to build these relationships,” Lindsey said. “I think the most important thing in coaching is building a relationship with players. They have to know you care about them before they care about what you know.”
Coach Todd Graham was happy that Lindsey was willing to jump in so quickly while the rest of his life remains on hold. Lindsey’s wife, Cecily, will join Chip for bowl week and spend about 10 days in the Valley searching for a home for the family that includes four children: Claire, Caroline, Cooper and Conner.
“It’s kind of uncomfortable doing that,” Graham said. “The kids have played 12 games with somebody else. Just how he has been received has been remarkable to me. It tells you what kind of person he is.”
Lindsey’s biggest charge will be developing the four young quarterbacks who will vie to replace Bercovici next season: redshirt freshman Manny Wilkins, true freshmen Bryce Perkins and Brady White and incoming freshman Dillon Sterling Cole, who must still sign his national letter of intent on Feb. 3 before he becomes an official member of the program.
“The biggest thing they need to know is that the slate is clean with me,” Lindsey said. “It doesn’t matter what came before.
“We’ll go through spring ball, coach them and teach them and give them all the same number of reps. We want to make it simple where their natural ability can take over. If they don’t feel comfortable and know what to do you can’t really see how good they are.”
In that regard, Lindsey said it has been invaluable to have Bercovici and assistant coach Taylor Kelly, who started from 2012-14, in the fold.
“Those are two quality people and obviously really good players here so those two guys really help me bridge the gap,” Lindsey said. “I tell them what I want and they say yeah, we call it this in our terminology. It helps me learn — and I have lot to learn.”