Southeast Missouri is set to undergo a massive transformation among its defensive staff.
Sources tell FootballScoop Wednesday evening that the Redhawks are accepting the resignation of veteran defensive coordinator Bryce Saia as well as inside linebackers coach Tyler French after wrapping up a 4-4 2020-21 season comprised primarily of Ohio Valley Conference games.
SEMO is expected to immediately begin its process to replace the two defensive assistants.
Saia had served as the Redhawks’ defensive coordinator for seven seasons – part of head coach Tom Matukewicz’s staff every year of his tenure atop the SEMO program.
He had followed Matukewicz from Toledo, where the pair had worked together for the Rockets.
Saia had a number of strong defensive units at SEMO; his group paced the OVC in turnover-margin in 2015 while it had also unleashed a defensive attack that ultimately recorded three of the program’s five-best single-season sack totals.
A former SEMO tight end, French had just wrapped up his fifth season as a full-time staff member and seventh in a row as a coach for the Redhawks following his two-year stint as a graduate assistant.
Though the Redhawks’ defense allowed only 22.6 points per game during the just-completed spring season, they saw the opposition outgain the SEMO offense on the ground and through the air. The SEMO defense allowed 1,395 net rushing yards and 1,449 passing yards.
The SEMO defense allowed 25 ppg in 2019 and 31 ppg in 2018.
The Redhawks finished their OVC-only spring season 4-3 in conference play but were doomed a three-game losing streak that spanned almost the entire month of March.
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