Good brainstorming thread. -BN
With the release of Bullough and Moore as Defensive Coordinator and WR coach respectably, the question now becomes who will replace them. I originally intended to create a post asking BN to chime in on preferred and/or likely candidates to consider after our loss to $C. However, given that the two hadn’t been released yet, I thought it would be a pit premature.
Now that the news has made the front page of BN thanks to Bellerophon, and given some of the comments to his post, I thought a new post was in order for folks to provide thoughts on a future DC and WR coach.
Tonight, I’ll start with possibilities for the DC position , and tomorrow, I’ll do [did a similar post for the WR coach slot here]. I’ll offer up some of my suggestions and reasons why I like each, and I invite others to do the same. My only request is that you provide some rationale behind your pick. Simply offering a name without any sort of reasoning really isn’t helpful.
So, in no particular order, here are my suggestions:
Rocky Long (DC – San Diego St)
I have thrown his name into the discussion multiple times and I’m not going to stop now. Not only does he have the reputation of being a solid defensive coordinator, but he also is a former UCLA DC with knowledge of the local area. That would be a plus for recruiting. This year, Coach Long’s defense was ranked 42nd in the nation in Total Defense compared to our ranking of 95. His defense also led the Mountain West Conference in sacks and tackles for loss. Keep in mind, SDSU shares this conference with TCU which was the top ranked team in Total Defense this season. I also think his defensive schemes can be a better fit for the talent and speed we have in our LBs and secondary.
Pete Kwiatkowski (DC – Boise State)
In his first year as DC for the Broncos, Kwiatkowski coached a defense ranked 4th in the nation in Total Defense. Prior to becoming DC, he coached the defensive line for Boise State for four years, and also served as DC for Montana State for 6 years before returning to BSU. He was mentored by Justin Wilcox who was Boise State’s DC before being hired as Tennessee’s DC this year. Wilcox is also rumored to be the next DC for Mack Brown in Texas. In the years Kwiatkowski coached at Boise State, they consistently fielded one of the nation’s top defenses and consistently led the WAC in multiple defensive categories. I think Boise State does a phenomenal job maximizing the talent in the players they have. With his background of developing players and the upgrade in talent that he’ll get in Westwood, I think he would assemble a very potent defense.
Teryl Austin (soon-to-be former DC – Florida)
This may be a pick that we’ll have to jump on very fast. With Will Muschamp coming in as Florida’s HC, rumor is that he will pick Alabama’s Kirby Smart to be Florida’s new DC. At first, Austin was predicted to be Mack Brown’s new DC at Texas, but Justin Wilcox is seen to be the frontrunner for that job. Austin will certainly be a hot commodity if he’s not retained by Muschamp. Austin brings both college and NFL experience to the table. This was his first year as DC for Florida, and he coached a defense ranked 9th in the country. His defense was ranked in the top-30 nationally in Scoring Defense, Pass Defense and Rushing Defense. Prior to being hired as Florida’s DC, he served as Defensive Backs Coach for the Arizona Cardinals (2007-2009) and the Seattle Seahawks (2003-2006). Before jumping to the NFL, he also served as DB Coach for Michigan (1999-2002), Syracuse (1996-1998) and Wake Forest (1993-1995). I think the mix of both NFL and college experience could help us in recruiting. My biggest question mark with Austin is his ability to coach up players. He has only been DC for one season, and he obviously had better talent to work with at Florida and in the NFL. Nevertheless, I think he could establish a SEC-like defense with our team and help create a more aggressive defensive identity.
My darkhorse pick: Randy Shannon (Former HC – Miami)
This pick is a long-shot, but it would be a huge coup if we can get him. Before serving as HC for the U for the last 3 years, Shannon served as DC between 2001 and 2006. During those years, his defenses ranked 6th, 7th, 2nd, 28th, 4th and 7th nationally in Total Defense. He groomed some defensive beasts during his years as DC, including Dan Morgan, Jonathan Vilma, DJ Williams, Ed Reed, Sean Taylor and Vince Wilfork (all of whom were 1st-round draft picks). He definitely brings a strong resume with him and would have a rich area from which to recruit. Given his ties to Florida, he would also provide us with a strong recruiting base in the Southeast. It would be no question that he has the ability to develop a tenacious defense if brought to UCLA. Not sure we could afford him, but then again, he may just relish the challenge of revamping our defense.
Would like to hear some other picks. Go Bruins!