With the Raiders’ complete overhaul of their coaching staff, we’ve talked plenty here about the new faces on the offensive and defensive coaching staff. But the special teams staff is new as well, and Jon Gruden brought in renowned special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, whom he worked with in Tampa Bay. Bisaccia has subsequently worked for the Chargers and Cowboys before being hired by the Raiders this year.
But one of Bisaccia’s assistants, Byron Storer, has ties to current Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch.
“Byron actually played for us [in Tampa Bay]. He’s from Modesto and he was walk-on at Cal, became a starter and played in the same backfield as Marshawn [Lynch].” said Bisaccia during the second day of OTAs last month.
Indeed, Storer played at Cal as the fullback and was also a special teams standout from 2003-2006, coinciding with Lynch’s years there from 2004-2006 before he entered the NFL Draft as a junior. Storer joined the NFL and played under Jon Gruden’s system in Tampa before becoming Bisaccia’s most indispensable assistant coach, modernizing Bisaccia’s archaic system of hand-drawn plays.
“He was a free agent with us in Tampa and became our starting fullback and then went through multiple knee injuries and surgeries twice and was going to get out and go to business school and all of that. I talked him into staying and starting coaching, breaking down film for us and he’s actually the guy. I didn’t have an assistant ever, and I wasn’t a computer guy and I didn’t type anything, I did everything hand-written. We won a Super Bowl with no computer pictures and all hand-written words. He’s the guy that kind of got on the computer and re-drew everything I had by hand onto the computer and did all of the typing and all the words that I had on paper he’d put them to computer font and those things. So, he kind of revamped the entire playbook and learned how to coach and the system that he was involved in us was kind of natural for him to go on to grasp,” said Bisaccia.
While Bisaccia has come and gone from several coaching jobs in the last decade, he has always endeavored to bring Storer with him as an assistant. The problem is, the teams that let Bisaccia go didn’t want to let Storer go as well, finding him far too valuable.
“When I went to San Diego, I couldn’t bring him the first year, they wouldn’t let him out of his contract. So I got him the second year and I left after the second year and went to Dallas and they wouldn’t let him out of his contract in San Diego to come to Dallas. Then, the next year his Dad kind of got a little bit under the weather and they were starting a new division for their business in San Francisco, so he got out to kind of go work and help his Dad. He really only planned to do it for two years, ended up staying for four and this opportunity got to be where I could get him back and he was ready to leave and the business kind of got put back into position where his Dad could run it again and I had a chance to get him. I got him as soon as I could. He’s a brilliant guy, he’s unbelievable with players and he’s been in the system, so I’m really excited to have him back,” said Bisaccia.
According to Bisaccia, Storer’s friendly demeanor belies his ferocity when it comes to football.
“I nicknamed him in Tampa ‘Opie.’ Everybody remembers R.F.D. and Mayberry and he had that baby face but underneath that baby face he puts the helmet on and he’s got some demons in there. You can ask Derrick Brooks and Cato June and those guys. He’s a heck of a player, real physical, really bright and I’m excited to have him here.”
The Raiders have a tendency to do things the old-school way, and that’s an ethos that hearkens back to the legacy of Al Davis. Rich Bisaccia is without question an old-school coach. But Byron Storer is exactly the kind of young, vibrant assistant coach the Raiders should be looking to hang on to and promote in the future.