Connect with us


Names Nobody is Talking About and Thoughts on the Defensive Coordinator Search



Here’s a reality when it comes to coaching searches that I’ve found to be true in both basketball and football (at the coordinator level): Nobody has any freaking clue what’s going on. Sure, there are people who are more plugged in than most, but there are too many candidates and too many coaches to be able to realistically narrow things down to what’s actually going to happen.

So we make educated guess, try to figure out what we think administrators are looking for and then discuss hires ad nauseam for months after they are made. It’s a little different for head coaching searches in football because those are so high-profile that it gets difficult to operate under the radar.

Anyway, here are a few things I’ve found interesting about Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator search over the past few days.

Robert Allen seems convinced OSU is going to hire a 3-down disciple. I’m not positive that’s correct. Maybe it is, who knows, but Gundy insinuated on pseudo-National Signing Day (or whatever we’re calling it) that OSU might start running a 4-2-5.

“We feel like in this league you’re going to have to play more 190- to 200-pounders on the field at once,” said Gundy. “In a sense we play three linebackers. I’m not sure it can’t go to two and five DBs all the time. I don’t know. We’ll just have to see.

“We have to look at things that we may have to do to be advantageous for our defense to slow teams down in this league by the majority. One of those areas is the safety type, the 200-pound kids that can support the run and also play man at times on the slot receiver.”

Guess who knows the 4-2-5 better than anybody? Oklahoma State alum and current TCU defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow.

• Glasgow’s salary, by the way, is not published because TCU is a private school. I would be surprised if he was making a lot more than Glenn Spencer at $675,000 a year, though.

Allen reported that during 2018 safety Aaron Brule’s visit over the weekend, he spent a lot of time with former Notre Dame, Georgia and Auburn defensive coordinator and current defensive analyst Brian VanGorder.

“The visit was really nice,” Brule told Go Pokes. “I think it is very family like with everything in the program. Everybody seems to care about each other and it is a good feeling around the football team, you know coaches and everything. I also thought the coaches were straight forward with everything, you know questions answered and all the things you need to know. Coach VanGorder was with me the most, all the time.”

Why is that significant? Well it doesn’t seem like OSU would trot out one of its analysts to try and close out the 2018 class. Maybe all the other coaches were traveling and maybe it’s nothing … but it feels like something, especially considering we haven’t really seen his name in that kind of capacity before.

Maybe VanGorder has already been hired to fill one of the two currently empty coaching positions (remember a 10th assistant position was added at the beginning of January), but it is yet to be determined whether he will actually be the defensive coordinator. Or maybe he’s just going to remain an analyst, but it’s starting to seem like he’s moving up the ranks. You don’t stay at an analyst position for multiple years at a place like OSU after being the DC at Georgia, Auburn and ND.

• I don’t necessarily want VanGorder as OSU’s defensive coordinator. His Notre Dame teams were average in points per drive allowed and outside the top 100 in turnovers created. So it sounds like Spencer … with fewer turnovers.

• Speaking of points per drive, my beloved points per drive. Here are a few off-the-beaten-path names that engineered big-time turnarounds in recent years at their respective schools. If we’re going by statistics only, these are some fun names to toss around.

Nick Holt (Purdue): The Boilermakers went from No. 118 in defense to No. 21, and he only made $500,000. He was the DC at USC from 2006-08 when USC had top five defenses every year. Would subscribe. Am subscribed.

Orlando Steinauer (Fresno State): Steinauer comes from the CFL (so he’s used to points!) and he helped Fresno go from No. 102 to No. 20 in points per drive last season in his first year. He makes less than half of what Spencer made at $320,000.

Jon Heacock (Iowa State): The former Youngstown State coach was hired by Matt Campbell in 2016 so it took two years for the turnaround, but he took the Cyclones from outside the top 100 to No. 36 in the country last year in points per drive on defense. He’s familiar with the Big 12 and only makes $454,000. Allen noted him as well.

Scottie Hazelton (Wyoming): Wyoming’s defensive PPD ranks were 105, 103 108, 119, 82 and then when Hazelton took over last year, they jumped to 15th nationally. He was Nevada’s DC in 2013 (they stunk) and then coached in the NFL for three years after that. He makes $230,000 a year.

• You’re likely going to have to pay another Power 5 defensive coordinator to come to Stillwater and try and defend in the Big 12 (although Heacock is already doing just that). That’s fine, though. Just like you’ve devoted more scholarships to that side of the ball, there’s no reason to not devote more resources and coaches to it, too.

• Whoever OSU hires is going to have their hands full. I thought Adam Lunt did a tremendous job of laying out how OSU doesn’t really need to be a top 25 defense. They just need to be situationally great. They need to have an identity. A calling card. This makes sense to me.

The OSU offense, interestingly, is my framework here. The numbers were great — like, top two in the country great — but were they situationally great? At times, I guess. But overall, I didn’t feel like they were. OU’s defense was statistically worse than OSU’s, but they were good enough situationally to win games.

We (OK, I) get caught up in points per drive and yards per play and all these different stats and forget that there’s only one statistic that matters. As one GOAT once stole from another …

Most Read