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New defensive coordinators prepare for summer film sessions

Over twenty-five programs have new defensive coordinators heading into the 2011 season. Today, we take a look at the initial challenges that some of the new coordinators will face when the season begins.

Our first seven coordinators may not have the most relaxing summer. It appears to us that Todd Bradford, Jay Neimann, Dave Wommack, Pete Rekstis, Joe Tresey, and Stanford co-coordinators Derek Mason and Jason Tarver have the most daunting early season challenges.

Comparitively speaking, this summer, we would rather be in the shoes of Chad Glascow, Tracy Claeys, Mississippi State coaches Chris Wilson and Geoff Collins, or Vanderbilt coaches Bob Shoop and Brent Pry.

Not much time to relax this summer for these new defensive coordinators:

Todd Bradford (Maryland): Maryland opens by hosting Miami (FL) and West Virginia. Bradford, who served the last few years as the defensive coordinator at Southern Miss, faces the difficult task of coaching against Jedd Fisch and Dana Holgorsen in the first two weeks. Fisch has a film log of 783 creative ways to get the ball into the hands of his best playmakers. The Terps also must prepare for the “Power” and “Iso” from an Al Golden coached team. You think Art Kehoe will have his offensive line amped up for the season opener? Holgorsen could throw it 54 times.

Jay Neimann (Northern Illinois): Quite frankly, we could see where Jay Neimann may not have the most relaxing summer. Northern Illinois opens against Army, at Kansas, against Wisconsin (Solider Field), and Cal Poly. Nobody wants to spend a bulk of August camp preparing for the triple-option. Without a sound game plan, you may look silly (Notre Dame vs. Navy). Nobody wants to lose at Kansas. From there, it’s safe to say that NIU head coach Dave Doeren will want a strong performance against his previous school, Wisconsin. Then, you don’t want to lose to a D1-AA team, albeit a pretty solid program in Cal Poly.

Dave Wommack (Arkansas State): Wommack has never coached with any of the Arkansas State defensive assistants. The Red Wolves open at Illinois, Memphis, at Virginia Tech. So right out of the gate, Wommack gets Paul Petrino and a good quarterback. In week two, Wommack can’t be sure what he’s getting because Memphis has a new play-caller (Kevin McGiven) and is moving more to a spread style system. In week three, Mike O’Cain will call the plays for the Hokies for the first time and Virginia Tech will be different offensively with the loss of Tyrod Taylor.

Pete Rekstis (Miami, OH): Rekstis will coach against five straight offensive staffs that have experienced pretty darn good success. The season starts at Missouri, at Minnesota, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, and Army. Yost, Limegrover, Butch Jones, and Rich Ellerson have a ton of experience in their respective systems. For Rekstis, it’s no easy task, here.

Joe Tresey (UCLA): Tresey and the Bruins hope to start fast at Houston, then against San Jose State and Texas. Houston has a difficult system to defend and Case Keenum returns for the Cougars. San Jose State was actually greatly improved offensively late in the year when John DeFilippo took over the play-calling. Of course, Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin is as good a play-caller as anyone in the country.

Derek Mason and Jason Tarver (Stanford): Things aren’t as easy as they may initially appear. Mason and Tarver open against San Jose State, at Duke, and at Arizona. San Jose State’s offense greatly improved late in the year when John DeFilippo took over the play-calling. Cutcliffe loves his quarterback and Duke promises to run the ball better than ever. The Blue Devils could be primed for the first major upset in the David Cutcliffe era. Mike Stoops says the Wildcats are loaded offensively and quarterback Nick Foles returns. Plus, Arizona was embarrassed a year ago in Palo Alto, so the Cardinal will have the Wildcats' attention. 

I’d rather be this coach:

Chad Glascow (Texas Tech): Coming over from TCU, Chad Glascow will face Texas State, at New Mexico, Nevada, and at Kansas to begin the season. Dennis Franchione takes over at Texas State, while Nevada has lost Colin Kaepernick and running backs coach Jim Mastro. All things considered, Glascow and Texas Tech could start 4-0 and raise eyes.

Chris Wilson and Geoff Collins (Mississippi State): These two have been grinding already this summer. After the season opener at Memphis, the Bulldogs get first shot at grabbing Gus Malzahn’s guru card. A few days later on Thursday night primetime, Starkville will be rockin’ when Mississippi State takes on LSU and new offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe. If Mississippi State upsets the Tigers, there will likely be a state of emergency back home in Baton Rouge. Wilson and Collins could become heroes in Mississippi.

Tracey Claeys (Minnesota): Claeys gets first shot at Lane Kiffin in 2011. The Gophers travel to The Coliseum to start the season. The next three are home games against New Mexico State, Miami (OH), and North Dakota State. New Mexico State hired a new coordinator, Doug Martin, just before spring practice. Miami (OH) has a first-year coaching staff under Don Treadwell.

Bob Shoop and Brent Pry (Vanderbilt): Of all the new defensive coordinators, Shoop has one of the better schedules early on. Vandy hosts Elon, UCONN, and Ole Miss to start the season. The Huskies and Rebels are unsettled and unproven at quarterback. Elon has a first year coaching staff. The next three games, however, are a handful. The Commodores are at South Carolina, at Bama, and then host Georgia. Hopefully by that time, Shoop and Pry will have the Commodores feeling much more comfortable in the first year of their new defensive scheme.


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