Hoke explains why he prefers his DC to coach linebackers

Publish date:

With the rise of the spread, a lot of new head coaches like their defensive coordinator to also have a hand in coaching the secondary. Brady Hoke has a different version in mind.

When Brady Hoke hired Greg Mattison away from the Baltimore Ravens back in 2011, Mattison was tabbed with overseeing the defensive line on top of his duties as defensive coordinator. That continued until late last week when Hoke switched some duties around, moving Mattison to linebackers coach, and having Roy Manning move from outside linebacker to corners to split duties with Curt Mallory, who will handle the safeties. Inside linebackers coach Mark Smith will now coach the defensive line.

For Hoke, moving Mattison (who coached the linebackers in Baltimore from 2008-2010) from the front four, to the middle of the defense, just makes sense.

"I think having your coordinator in a position in the middle of the defense, he’s coached linebackers for a lot of different years, I just feel, for us as a defensive staff and him as coordinator, it just makes more sense."

“In this day and age of football, with spread offenses, you’re having sub personnel in the game, nickel and dime and all that kind of stuff, that’s a lot to take for one coach. I did some research on it and talked to a lot of different coaches across the country about how they configure their secondary. You look at the National Football League model. They have a corners coach and a safeties coach in most places."

A lot of head coaches would agree would agree with that outlook.

According to my research, of the top ten defenses of the 2013 season (in terms of total defense), six of the top defensive coordinator's backgrounds are dominated by experience coaching the linebackers (Pat Narduzzi, Bud Foster, Dave Aranda, DJ Durkin, Art Kaufman, Mike Elko), while four have most of the experience in the defensive backfield (Vance Bedford, Jeremy Pruitt, Kirby Smart, Phil Parker).