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Spaulding Roundup: More Names For The DC Search

Tom Dienhart from Yahoo! Sports injects some new names into CRN’s search for a new DC:

Neuheisel in search mode

With DeWayne Walker off to be coach at New Mexico State, UCLA needs a defensive coordinator.

Many feel a top target may be Montana coach Bobby Hauck, who has done a masterful job in six seasons as coach of the Grizzlies. Hauck's ties to Rick Neuheisel run deep, having served on Neuheisel's staffs at Washington (1999-2002) and Colorado (1995-98). But Hauck may not be interested.

Two other names are Georgia State defensive coordinator John Thompson and former Nebraska defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove. Thompson was coach at East Carolina from 2003-04 and has been a defensive coordinator at numerous schools in the Southeast. Cosgrove helped make Wisconsin a national power as Badgers defensive coordinator from 1995-2003. Both are accomplished recruiters, too.

Another possibility is former Syracuse coach Greg Robinson, though he may land back in the NFL.

Another possibility is former Syracuse coach Greg Robinson, though he may land back in the NFL.

So the two new names are: Kevin Cosgrove and Greg Robinson. It seems like a bad news/good news kind of deal. Let’s start with Cosgrove.

I went over to Corn Nation, our SBN colleagues covering Nebraska to look up info on Cosgrove. The feedback is not pretty in reaction to news Cosgrove is showing up in stories related to coaching searches (he is also in the mix for the DC position in Minnesota):

According to Husker Extra's Steve Sipple, Kevin Cosgrove could be headed to Minnesota to replace Gophers’ ex-DC Ted Roof who’s headed to Auburn.

I know what you’re thinking. Someone would hire the guy that took a Blackshirt defense and turned it into the biggest pile of steaming poo in over 100 years of football? Someone would hire that guy?

Apparently Kevin Cosgrove had no clue about how to stop the spread offense.

Needless to say that’s a little disconcerting. However, one factor to consider is often a terrible head coach (in this case Bill Callahan) has the ability to make his assistant look awful. Remember Nebraska fans also were not all that crazy about Jay Norvell (look up BN archives for posts on Norvell when he was being rumored as the next UCLA OC) either. Jay turned out to be a dud in Westwood (I won’t go into details because there are plenty of discussion on that topic here on BN). Yet apparently Training Jay is now getting profiled in the NY Times thanks to being part of Stoops program in Oklahoma. So keep that in mind. Still the feedback on Cosgrove from Corn Nation (who I have a lot of respect for) is disconcerting).

On the other hand, Greg Robinson is an intriguing possibility. He has UCLA connections as he has coached in Westwood before (during the Donahue years). Of course he got fired from ‘Cuse this year for not being able to kick start that program (and failing terribly at it in fact). Yet, Robinson seemed to have made a pretty good impression on Texas fans from his time as a DC for Mack Brown. Longhorn fans on Burnt Orange Nation are nostalgic about Robinson’s defense because they “seemed to play hard until the whistle blew”:

Not to say that I want Greg Robinson and Dick Tomey back, but I loved the fact that Robinson's defense seemed to play hard until the whistle blew.  I think he even had some drills where he did not blow the whistle until at least 3 or 4 players got to the ball carrier.  I just don't see that kind of determination out of this year's squad.

BONers also praised Robinson for making “Texas more physical” and teaching them "to create turnovers":

Texas really hasn't had a dominating defense since the Fred Akers days, but Robinson had the next best thing. He took the bend-but-don't break approach, made Texas more physical and taught them to create turnovers. In the Rose Bowl he made the mistake of sticking to zone and Henne lit them up. He was also limited by personnel (slow white LBs).  

Hmm. While Texas fans talked about Robinson going with a “bend-but-don’t break” approach in Austin, he was liked by Denver Broncos fans (where he won 2 superbowls as Shanahan's DC) for blitzes and bringing heat. He also led one of the best NFL defensive turnarounds when he was in Denver. Again Denver fans at MIle High Report praised him as their "last really good DC" who was seemingly scapegoated by Shanahan despite having a successful season.

From the descriptions above it seems like Robinson is one of those coaches who is a perfect Donahue clone: solid but not necessarily spectacular. Still overall the feedback on Robinson is much more positive at BON and at MHR than the ones on Cosgrove at CN. Then again that might also have to do with the factor of leadership at the very top. Cosgrove coached under a clown like Callahan while Robinson worked for one of the better coaches in college football.

I think CRN is taking his time because he wants to talk to some coaches in the NFL as well. Most notably I would look through the bios of defensive coaches of Baltimore Ravens who are still in the playoffs. I wonder if CRN will reach out to candidates such as Chuck Pagano, Mike Pittine or Mark Carrier. I like Mark’s credentials:

Mark Carrier entered his 2nd year with the team as the secondary coach in 2007.  The Ravens were 1st in overall defense (a Ravens' 1st), including 6th against the pass and 1st in INTs in the NFL in 2006. Baltimore also had 5 of their 28 INTs returned for TDs (tops in the NFL), tying their 2004 team record. Carrier, a 3-time Pro Bowl safety and 1990 NFL-Defensive Rookie of the Year for the Chicago Bears, played 11 years in the NFL: 7 with the Bears, 3 with the Lions and 1 year with the Redskins.

Overview: Joined Baltimore in 2006 as secondary coach...The 11-year NFL veteran player also coached the Arizona State CBs for 2 years (2004-05)...Carrier retired from the NFL after the 2000 season (post-Redskins) and launched a career as a sports commentator with various radio and television outlets, including WGN in Chicago, ESPN's XTRA-910 and the USC Football Radio Network... Carrier, who earned 3 Pro Bowl trips while with Chicago (1990-91, ‘93), was the NFL-Defensive Rookie of the Year (1990) after leading the NFL with 10 INTs.

Bringing a rising coaching star like Carrier with Trojan background would be priceless while Kenny is busy with those fingertapes across town. Just something to think about.