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Lining Up Defensive Coordinator Prospects For 2011

After giving up 683 yards and 47 points to the Baylor Bears (yes, the same Baylor Bears who lost to Texas Tech Red Raiders), the Chris Cosh-led defense is now giving up an average of 428.3 yards per game (ypg), and 25.9 points per game (ppg). Throw out the aberration that was the 59-7 win over the hapless Kansas Jayhawks, and those averages soar to 444.5 ypg and 29.0 ppg.

While the Wildcat defense lacks the elite athletes that prowled the field from 1993-2003, there is simply no excuse for such ineptitude, and much of the blame must fall on the coach. Cosh has shown a lack of imagination, and an inability to put his players in the best position to succeed. As such, I feel like a change at the top of the defense is necessary. I would like to use this story (in particular, the comments section) as a kind of "nomination forum" for ideas on who should take over for Cosh when this season ends. (My preference would be for Coach Snyder to simply fire or demote him now, but I have serious doubts that this would ever happen.) After the jump, I will offer a couple of my own ideas, as well as leaving a few open slots that I will fill from the best suggestions proffered in the comments. Let's come up with a list of the top 5 potential candidates to be next year's defensive coordinator.


(Note: I have added a dream candidate at the end of the list. Let me know if you think there are better dream candidates available. Particularly ones that we might actually have a chance at, like Doeren.)


I've went a bit "off-the-beaten-path" with my two suggestions. One criteria for me is that we can't put anyone on the list that is a "moon-shot." In other words, don't suggest we hire the Alabama defensive coordinator to come here as our defensive coordinator. There is no way that someone makes that lateral move. Also, I love KSU connections, but wasn't able to find anyone who had them, who didn't either have a bit of a thin resume (Mike Ekeler, whom I loved as a player, but who needs more seasoning, in my view) or serious black marks on the resume (Jim Leavitt). However, if you feel you can make a good case for those two, or any other KSU-related guys that I may have simply overlooked, fire away, and I may add them to the blank sections.

Additionally, I'm not locked in on Sanders and Harper. If five better prospects are brought up, or I'm convinced somehow that the two guys I've got on the list aren't worthy, I'll certainly remove the two names I've already placed on the list. I'm looking forward to seeing what ideas you guys come up with to replace Cosh. 

Candidate: Marvin Sanders
Current Position: Assistant Coach/Secondary, Nebraska
Experience: 18 years at various levels, including 3 as the Def. Coord. at N. Carolina under John Bunting
Age: 43
Connection to KSU: none 
BioNebraska Biography
Advantages of hiring him: While he's still young, he has the experience of having worked as a defensive coordinator at a D-1 school. His secondaries have also done quite well the last couple of years, and this seems to be an area of particular weakness this season.

Candidate: J.C. Harper
Current Position: Head Coach, Stephen F. Austin
Experience: 20 years at various levels, including the last 3 at SFA, whom he has turned around.
Age: 44
Connection to KSU: None
BioSFA Biography
Advantages of hiring himHis background is in defense, and the turnaround he has engineered at SFA is little short of miraculous. They have gone from 0-11 his first year in 2007, to 10-3 last season (including a berth in the FCS playoffs), and a 6-1 start to the 2010 campaign. He also could offer potential recruiting inroads into the state of Texas.

Candidate: Matt Wallerstedt
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator, Air Force Academy
Experience: 19 years, in various capacities
Age: 44
Connection to KSU: 1987 Alum; Grad. Asst. (1988); Linebacker/Recruiting Coordinator (2006-07)
BioAFA Bio
Advantages of hiring him: His ties to KSU, as well as the Manhattan area (he graduated from Manhattan High in 1984), make this a seemingly realistic hire. His background as a linebackers coach (which is also the position he focuses on at AFA) is also a positive. As a 40-something coach, he could also become a potential replacement, when Coach Snyder decides to hang up his whistle.

Candidate: Dave Lockwood
Current Position: Cornerbacks Coach, West Virginia
Experience: 21 years, including a 2-year stint (2005-06) as def. coord. at Minnesota under Glen Mason.
Age: 43
Connection to KSU: None
BioWVU Bio
Advantages of hiring him: His secondary is currently one of the elite in the nation, as is the West Virginia defense as a whole (including the run defense). Lockwood has previous experience as a defensive coordinator, so the "learning curve" wouldn't be too steep, and he was the recruiting coordinator at Minnesota in 2003, so he has a feel for recruiting the Midwest also. He is also a much more realistic hire than Casteel (the DC at WVU) would be.

Candidate: Andy Buh
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator, Nevada
Experience: 13 years, including two years as co-DC for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford (2008-09).
Age: 37
Connection to KSU: None
Nevada Bio
Advantages of hiring him: By far, the youngest of the suggested hires, but also -- in my view, anyway -- the most intriguing. He has 3 years as either a DC or co-DC under his belt, so he wouldn't have much of a learning curve at all. At Nevada, his recruiting area is Texas, which is also a positive, given the focus that KSU needs to have on recruiting that state. He's a Nevada alum (1996), but I think that a defensive coordinator job at a BCS school, with perhaps a promise to be interviewed for the big chair when Coach Snyder steps down in a few years would bring him in.

CandidateDave Doeren
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator, Wisconsin
Experience: 15 years, including 6 as a defensive coordinator at the Division 1-A level.
Age: 38
Connection to KSUGrew up in Shawnee Mission, KS, and worked for Mark Mangino from 2002-2005, and for Bret Bielema from 2006-present.
Wisconsin Bio
Advantages of hiring himWhile Doeren is very young, he is also a hot commodity. It would take a large investment in salary, as well as a head-coach-in-waiting type of contract to get him to KSU. I do think it's possible, though, because Bret Bielema is so young himself. If Doeren wants to be a head coach some day (and from his career trajectory, it's clear he does) it will have to be somewhere other than Wisconsin. With his roots in the state of Kansas, I think it's very possible that we might be able to bring him in. The way I see it, Doeren is a dream hire, that is actually quite possible.

Candidate:Tracy Claeys
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator, Northern Illinois
Experience: 15 years, most of it as a defensive coordinator at various levels.
Age: 41
Connection to KSU1994 alum.
N. Illinois Bio
Advantages of hiring himClaeys isn't as "hot" name-wise as Doeren, so it wouldn't take a large investment in salary, or a HCIW contract to get him to KSU. Given his roots in the state of Kansas (born and raised in Clay Center, KS), and the fact that he graduated from KSU, as well as the fact that he's got a lot of experience as a DC, and runs a pretty solid defense at Northern Illinois, Claeys might  be something of a dark horse candidate. Much more extensive advantages are listed out in the comments below.