Defensive Coordinator Hot Board Created by USCFootball.com
With the Sun Bowl in the rear view mirror and Monte Kiffin moving on, we take a fresh look at the top candidates for the USC defensive coordinator position. We have learned USC is looking for a bigger name, using a base 4-3 but someone that could incorporate elements of the 3-4 to help stop the various spread offenses.
Mark Banker Oregon State Defensive Coordinator
Banker has a decade of defensive coordinator experience.
After a decade at Oregon State and 15 of the last 16 seasons spent with Mike Riley, could Banker be pried away by USC? His past at USC is a definite plus and the talent he would inherit could be very tempting. After a series of underachieving defenses from USC, Kiffin could be very interested in Banker's demonstrated ability to get more out of defenses with less talent. UPDATE: There is still mutual interest between USC and Banker. He is a legitimate candidate, no question about it.
Pat Narduzzi Michigan State Defensive Coordinator
Narduzzi is on a path to become a head coach.
One of the best defensive coordinators in college football, he has produced Michigan State defenders who have led The Big Ten in total defense each of the last two years and been among the top 10 in the country. The Spartans finished a disappointing 6-6 in 2012 but his defense gave up only 16 points to TCU in the BWW Bowl. Narduzzi is also known as an excellent recruiter and his extensive ties to the Midwest and Northeast would open USC up to recruiting areas it hasn't extensively tapped into. UPDATE: As reported in the War Room, Narduzzi's film was reviewed by the USC brass. He was also in LA on Jan. 3 for a recruiting trip according to his Twitter account.
Pete Kwiatkowski Boise State Defensive Coordinator
Boise State had one of the top defenses in 2012.
Kwiatkowski took over as the Broncos' defensive coordinator in 2010 and has been on the BSU staff since 2006. He was the DC for Montana State for six seasons prior to returning to his Alma Mater. In 2012 the Boise State defense was ranked in the top-10 in total defense, scoring defense and passing defense. Boise State will remain in the Mountain West and not join the Big East. Update: Our sources indicate Kwiatkowski is another legitimate candidate being considered by USC.
Clancy Pendergast California Defensive Coordinator
Will Pendergast return to college or jump to the NFL?
After the coaching turnover at Cal, Pendergast is now out of a job. Pendergast knows the conference well and his Cal teams led the Pac-12 in total defense in 2010 and 2011. His ability to churn out NFL talent and past experience as a successful NFL DC, which included a Super Bowl appearance, would play well at a next-level driven school like USC. UPDATE: Again, Pendergast is a legitimate candidate but his name has come up for the St. Louis Rams DC or LB position with former Trojan Jeff Fischer.
Joe Barry San Diego Chargers LB Coach
After a year away, could Barry return to his alma mater?
After a successful year as USC's linebacker coach in 2011, Joe Barry left to take the same position with the San Diego Chargers. Barry reportedly had issues with the direction the USC defense was taking under Monte Kiffin. The Chargers staff is certainly in danger and Barry, a dogged recruiter, could return to the Trojans and install a more aggressive, attacking style of defense. UPDATE: Barry is still well liked among the current USC coaching staff but there has been no contact about the job between the two parties.
DeWayne Walker New Mexico State Head Coach
Walker knows USC and the Pac-12.
Walker was the very first coach Pete Carroll hired when he took over the Trojans back in 2001. Walker is on the hot seat with his Aggies going 1-11 in 2012. He is a solid defensive mind and would likely slip back into a defensive coordinator role after his first stint as a head coach. UPDATE: A source tells us Walker would "definitely entertain" interest from Lane Kiffin. Leaving a head coaching job, even a bad one, could be Walker's last chance as a head man however.
Gene Chizik Former Auburn Head Coach
Chizik knows defense and won a national championship at Auburn.
The biggest name on this board is also the most controversial. There are a lot of things to like, especially his major success as a DC at Auburn and Texas and the fact he could probably come cheaper given his Auburn bailout. However, he has no history with Lane Kiffin and as a recent national title winner and head coach, would his ego be too large for Kiffin to handle? Even more worrisome are the NCAA clouds that would follow him. UPDATE: Never found any interest on USC's part for Chizik. Also a name that could be too big and would attract more NCAA attention than what it is worth.
Justin Wilcox Washington Defensive Coordinator
Wilcox is a hot candidate who could end up a head coach.
A young coordinator and great recruiter with demonstrated success all over the country, Wilcox would be a major splash. The biggest question here is whether he would accept the job. He has been discussed as a fringe candidate for some of the current head coach openings and it's just a matter of time until he gets an HC job. Wilcox is very well-compensated at Washington. Would he consider another coordinator job in the Pac-12 to be a lateral move? UPDATE: Don't expect Kiffin to pilfer Wilcox from Sark.
Derek Mason Stanford Defensive Coordinator
Stanford has had a tough, physical defense under Mason.
After three seasons running Stanford's defense, Mason has proven he knows what it takes to be successful in the Pac-12. His defenses are known for a physical front-seven, which would mesh well with the philosophy of Ed Orgeron. The question is would Mason leave The Farm and come to Los Angeles considering he is also the associate head coach at Stanford. UPDATE: No chance to shoehorn Mason out of his great spot at Stanford.
Bob Shoop Vanderbilt Defensive Coordinator
Shoop has been impressive competing in the SEC.
Shoop is a Yale graduate who spent the early part of his career coaching at nontraditional football powers. He was the head coach at Columbia for three years and was the defensive coordinator at Yale, Villanova and William & Mary before taking the Vanderbilt defensive coordinator job in 2011. Shoop has defended a wide variety of offenses during his career. In 2012 Vandy was No. 17 in total defense, No. 15 in scoring defense and No. 10 in passing defense. UPDATE: Rumors died here, never found real interest from either party.