Bears All-Access caught up with the football coaching staff to break down positions going into the upcoming season.
Coach Mike Chandler Talks About the Bears' First Scrimmage, New Offense
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Wide receivers coach Mike Chandler is in his fifth season on the Missouri State staff and heads into the 2014 campaign with a good balance of experience and young talent at his disposal at the wideout positions.
Chandler is a 2000 graduate of the University of Kansas where he earned a degree in economics. He earned Jayhawks' team MVP and team captain honors in 1999, while earning Big 12 All-Academic Team honors. He played his last three seasons with the Jayhawks for current MSU head coach Terry Allen.
From Kansas, Chandler went to the Charleston (S.C.) Swampfoxes of the Arena Football League where he played from 2000-03 and earned team captain honors in his first season. He put together a stellar pro career as a receiver and defensive back for the Swampfoxes during his three seasons with the club.
He also enjoyed professional stints with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League, Buffalo (N.Y.) Destroyers of the Arena Football, and a brief stay with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001.
After pro football, he went into private business before beginning his coaching tenure in April 2005 at Colleton County (S.C.) High School as wide receivers coach and assistant offensive coordinator. He spent nearly two seasons in that capacity before advancing to the college ranks in January 2007 with an appointment at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College.
He helped guide FSCC to the No. 1 nationally-ranked offense and No. 2 scoring offense, while coaching quarterbacks and running backs for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He also served as strength and conditioning coordinator and video supervisor at Fort Scott before coming to Missouri State in August 2009 as a part-time assistant.
Chandler earned full-time coaching status at Missouri State in the spring of 2010 after a superior effort during the 2009 season that saw his receivers earn two league awards, including All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honorable mention honors by Jared Emery and MVFC All-Newcomer status by freshman Cadarrius Dotson.
In 2010, he continued to advance the MSU receiving corps with 12 different players registering pass receptions during a 5-6 campaign. Junior standout Jermaine Saffold earned All-MVFC second-team honors after collecting 53 catches for 869 yards. Likewise, Dotson picked up where he left off his freshman year and had 38 catches, including a reception in each of his first 21 games as a Bear.
In 2011, Saffold broke the MSU single-season (913) and career (2,221) records for receiving yards and earned All-MVFC first-team distinction before signing a free-agent contract with the Cleveland Browns.
Dorian Buford earned first-team All-MVFC honors in 2012 after pulling in 59 passes for 642 yards to lead a quartet of players with 25 catches or more. Buford ranked 2nd in the league in receptions per game (5.36), which translated to 47th nationally.
In 2013, 13 different Bears caught passes, including 52 catches by junior Julian Burton who made his mark with the 9th-best single-season reception total in school history. Both Burton (686) and Buford (504) eclipsed 500 receiving yards, marking the first time since 1999 that a pair of MSU teammates have reached that milestone in the same season.