The weekend came and went and UCLA is still without a defensive coordinator. Right now public reports point to Steve Brown. May be there will be some sort of official announcement sometime early this week.
Although I am okay with the potential hiring of Steve Brown there is an issue that is bugging me just a bit. I have not seen any information that credibly establishes Brown as an aggressive minded defensive coordinator. From what I have read in recent days, it sounds like Kentucky brought in Rick Minter to essentially take over as their DC to run the aggressive 3-4 scheme. Kentucky's official blog posted this:
With the addition of Minter, there is some belief that UK could switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 base, which has recently become a Minter signature. Minter said it's a possibility for the future, but he doesn't anticipate changing defenses right now, especially with a bowl game on the horizon.
"We're going to run the Wildcat defense here," Minter said. "Philosophically, I came up under a four-down system. In the last three or four years, I have really branched off, matching the finesse and flexibility of today's offenses because I think you have to be a little bit more diverse. I don't think you can always get locked in with four guys with their hand on the ground.
I have not read any information in public from Kentucky sources that shows Brown was adept at running the 3-4 defense. That gives me bit of a pause. One of the big reason we wanted to move on from Chuck Bullough was his base 4-3 defense. Our defenses seemed vanilla against number of dynamic Pac-10 offenses. The hope was that Rick would bring in someone with a track record of being an aggressive minded DC. I am not seeing that track record in Brown. If anyone here is reading something different that comes from a reliable Kentucky source, please share that in this thread.
My thoughts about should not be construed as some kind of "Veto" on Brown. The situation is different here because Brown does have legitimate experience as a DC which wasn't the case for Seto (and Bullough when he was promoted to take Walker's spot).
Another issue that is out there is why UCLA waffled on Randy Shannon. I have read number of references to Shannon's "baggage." So far the only "baggage" I have been able to find (not having to do with results on the field) is this:
Earlier today, Dan LeBatard sent fears down the spine of Hurricane fans by announcing on his radio show that the Miami Herald would be breaking a negative story about the sports program this afternoon. Well it's here, and it a minor little thing that involves, uh, text messages.
Apparently, coaches from the football team, women's track team and maybe the baseball team were sending text messages to recruits that broke some NCAA rules. The investigation has been going on since January.
UM self-reported the incident after discovering the text messages internally.
We have seen lot worse in the world of college football. Is there anything else besides message board speculation?
I am not going to get all bent over Randy Shannon at this point. If Brown is the guy, I am willing to give Rick his shot because ultimately it will come down to results on the field. Here is how I hope Steve Brown will fall into the various wish list categories of all parties involve break down after following this drama for almost two months:
- Versatility -- ability to adapt to 4-3 or 3-4 depending on personnel.
- Style -- aggressiveness and blitzing.
- Attitude -- in-your-face, gets people moving.
- Personality -- team player, as by all accounts he was gracious despite demotion by Phillips to co-DC.
- Price -- DC from a lower-tier SEC school, so we can offer "competitive" salary
- Diversity -- they love being dazzled in that fancy "suit".
- Experience -- 4 years as DB coach, then 4 years as DC at Div. I school; 6 years asst. coaching in NFL, including for Super Bowl Champ.
- Progress -- substantial, measurable improvement team's defensive stats in 3-4 year span.
- Preparation -- has a scheme in place BEFORE getting blasted by 2nd quarter.
I am still not sure about the versatility part. Actually I am not sure about any of the bullets under Rick's wish list. I think that is what he wants. But I have not read anything positive or negative either way on that account with respect to Brown.
If Brown doesn't work out, Rick will pay the price next season. In a weird way that is a positive factor in this potential hiring. May be Brown will fare much better at UCLA with access to better talent. Our defense is going to be loaded next season. If he is a good coach, he should be able to use that talent to put together a great product on the field. He will have to because if he doesn't his head coach will be out of a job.
My desperate hope now is Rick will make a good decision here because his job is on the line. That is all I got for now.