February 18, 2008

DC-Whithers to leave us for North Carolina

So if you are checking Gopher Nation for your breaking Gopher news then let me be the first to tell you that our defensive coordinator, Everett Whithers is leaving the U to take the same position with Butch Davis in North Carolina.

This appears to be in the dream job category for Whithers. He is from North Carolina and family and you get the idea. I'm disappointed with this move as Whithers had a solid reputation and I looked forward to seeing what he could do with the influx of young talent. So far I have not read any internet vitriol calling him a traitor or worse a Holtz.

So rather than lament his departure let us look forward to potential replacements. Before we talk names lets talk about what kind of a coach we want. Defensive Coordinators seem to be rather aggressive people. Every new coordinator comes in and says we are going to play like mad dogs, we are going to be aggressive and we are going to make plays flying around the field. That is code for we are lacking talent and we have to use controlled chaos to disrupt the offense.

What I want more than an aggressive coach is a teacher and a recruiter. We have a group of talented kids but they need to be taught. I want to see someone who will pay great attention to detail. Teach these kids to make reads, to react and then fly to the ball to make plays. What killed me last year was watching all three linebackers take 2 steps to the left when the opponent was running right. Making the wrong reads and reacting too late killed this defense more than lack of talent (although that was a massive contributing factor).

All right lets throw out some names, this is total speculation but it is a start...

Kevin Cosgrove - is the early favorite. Cosgrove was most recently defensive coordinator at Nebraska and is said to have a lengthy relationship with Brewster. Cosgove was also DC at Wisconsin and was dangerously close to coaching the Vikings linebackers after Brad Childress was hired to lead the Purple. This hire may be OK but it wouldn't do anything to excited the fan base. Nebraska's defense has been very gopher-esque in recent years so his results don't do anything to get me excited.

DeWayne Walker - Walker would get my endorsement. His resume is impressive and he is a former Golden Gopher. Even after the coaching change at UCLA, Walker was retained by new head coach Rick Neuheisel to stay as defensive coordinator. But can he be convinced to come back to his alma matter? Or does he bide his time as a Bruin until the job opens up here again. But really he has demonstrated success in recent seasons, he has deep recruiting ties to California and he is a former Gopher. If he is willing to listen this is a no brainer.

Ron Lee - currently the Gophers secondary coach. Lee has coached at Michigan & Wisconsin, and he has two years of DC experience at San Jose State. The possibility of a promotion exists.

Oscar Giles - currently DE coach at Texas. Giles coached on the Texas staff with Brewster, then found work at a couple other Texas schools and has been back on the Longhorn staff since 2005. Giles would help us to continue a Texas pipeline as he landed four 4-star recruits for UT. And last year he successfully recruited a 5-star and three 4-stars. Other than being a solid recruiter, coaching on the defensive side of the ball and knowing Tim Brewster I couldn't tell you much about him.

Tony Dungy - just kidding, but you tell me which is crazier. Landing Tony Dungy to play DC at his alma matter before he retires or that the Gophers would land a coach like Tubby Smith? For the record I am totally kidding by putting this name on the list. Please don't tell me how Dungy wouldn't want to recruit, this is a pay cut, or just plain how retarded I am. I am aware of all of these facts.

Tim Tibesar - originally from Minnesota and currently DC at Kansas State for one season. Tibesar has the experience and he is from here. But can he recruit? Does he have any relationship with Brewster? Is taking the Minnesota job a step up? I'm guessing that this would be a good move for Tibesar but the real key is whether or not Brewster knows him and trusts that he is an outstanding recruiter. Stole this name from internet message board so if he gets hired I won't take credit for you hearing it here first.

Greg Mattison - Florida C0-DC who has landed a number of top notch recruits for the Gators (anybody heard of Tim Tebow?). Mattison would give us a larger foot in the door to Florida recruits. Why would he come to Minnesota? I'm not sure but he is from the midwest. Originally from Madison, WI; undergrat at LaCrosse and masters at Illinois. Mattison would be a total steal but don't hold your breath.

Ed Orgeron - has popped up on message boards. Head coach at Ole Miss 2005-07 and assumed DC role the first two seasons as well. Also coached at USC for several season coaching the DL where he won a recruiter of the year award. I'm sure Orgeron is a great candidate with experience but as a former SEC head coach I don't know that we want someone who will bolt in a year or two to take another head job. Also, I'm not sure what would draw him to Minnesota.

Lance Thompson - fits the exact profile that Brewster seems to be drawn towards. Thompson is an excellent recruiter (named 2007 Rivals recruiter of the year), he is young and appears to be a tireless worker who is on his way up the college coaching ladder. Currently Thompson is OLB coach at Alabama with DC experience at Central Florida and was recruiting cord at LSU. This is a total shot in the dark but maybe Brewster makes a call to see if Thompson is interested in a DC job.

Donnie Thompson - coached with Brewster in North Carolina coaching the DLine, then was LB coach at Illinois and is currently Ast. Head Coach / DL coach at Eastern Carolina. Not very exciting, I know but it's a name. I'm sure Brewster has a list and if Thompson is on that list it will be on the B-list.

That is my list of candidates. Chances are that none of them will end up with the job but we will see.


No comments: