Once again, the University of Maine football program has looked within to fill a key coaching position.

NICK CHARLTON

Nick Charlton, the Black Bears special teams coordinator the last two years, was named offensive coordinator on Tuesday. He also will coach the quarterbacks.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” said Charlton. “I think we have a really good system in place now and I see this as an opportunity to build on it, add my own blueprint to it.”

Charlton, who also coached wide receivers the last two years, replaces Brian Picucci, who left for a job with the NFL’s Detroit Lions, a little over a month after taking over for Liam Coen.

Coen, who left Maine in December to become the offensive coordinator at Holy Cross, took a job with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams as an assistant wide receivers coach earlier this week.

“I think having the experience of being a coordinator and being in charge of your own unit has led to experience that will help Nick,” said Maine head coach Joe Harasymiak. “I think this program does a great job of promoting from within and giving guys an opportunity and I felt Nick was in a position to do that.

“Nick has worked under a lot of great coaches, here and at Boston College. And certainly he’s done a great job for us here in other roles.”

Charlton, 29, oversaw two of Maine’s most successful units the last two years. Maine was second in kick returns in the Colonial Athletic Association each of the last two years – averaging 22.5 yards on kickoff returns last fall – and has produced five all-conference special teams honors, led by sophomore Earnest Edwards, who was a first-team kick returner last fall.

Maine’s wide receivers are led by junior Micah Wright, who was a preseason all-CAA pick last fall but limited to just five games because of a suspension and injuries.

Charlton believes the wide receivers have a chance to be among the CAA’s best, but said Maine will not ignore the run game even though Josh Mack, who led the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing last year, transferred and four offensive line starters graduated.

“The run game is going to be really important to this group,” said Charlton. “It’s the identity of this school and this program. To be honest, my biggest concern is rebuilding the offensive line. We brought in a lot of freshmen so we’ll have some depth. And we brought in a transfer and we’re bringing in more. I’ve already met with our running backs and told them it’s about them stepping up.”

In fact, he said, it’s about the entire offense stepping up, starting with quarterback Chris Ferguson, who won the job last fall as a redshirt freshman.

“Chris has a lot of intangibles and skills that will make him successful,” said Charlton. “But he has got to compete for it again. We’re not naming starters until the fall. He’ll be competing with Isaiah Robinson, along with the freshmen we’ve brought in. I think (Ferguson) has some things that can’t be taught, he has the skills to be successful in the CAA, but he’s got to take the next step.”

Charlton went to high school in Salem, Massachusetts. He was recruited as a quarterback at Saint Anselm College, but instead attended Boston College and graduated in 2011. He didn’t play but worked with the football team, first as a student-assistant then as a graduate assistant under Coach Steve Addazio, focusing on quarterbacks in 2014. He joined Maine as the wide receivers coach in 2015.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” said Charlton. “It’s the next step for me, I’m familiar with these players and I believe in what we’re doing with Coach H. It’s up to us to take the next step with this program.”

Charlton lives in Brewer with his wife, Maria and daughter, Madeline, who was born last October.

“A little trivia,” said Charlton. “Other than (former Brewer and Salem football coach) Ken Perrone, I might be the only coach to live in two cities whose high school mascot is a witch.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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