So Chuck Bresnahan is USF's new defensive coordinator. It's a curious hire for several reasons:
- Bresnahan hasn't coached college football in 20 years. And if that doesn't sound like even longer than it really is, think about this. The Air Raid barely existed in 1993. There was no Pistol offense, there was no Tony Franklin System, and there was no Chip Kelly doing whatever he's doing. Steve Spurrier's Fun 'n' Gun was about as wide-open as it got back then, and even that wasn't a full-on spread. In some ways being a defensive coordinator in college now is harder than being one in the NFL, because the talent and the innovation is tilted so far towards the offense in college. That wasn't really the case the last time Bresnahan coached in college. The adjustment period might be really rough.
It makes me think of Monte Kiffin, who had that tremendous string of success with the Bucs as their defensive coordinator. Then he went to backstop his idiot son in college and got crushed in the PAC-12 on a regular basis.
- Because he's been in the NFL so long, he has basically zero recruiting connections. The last time he was a college coach, the kids he'll be helping to recruit weren't even born yet. This may or may not really be a big issue, depending on how much of the heavy lifting falls to position coaches or to Taggart. But you only get so many assistant coaches and it doesn't help to have one who is behind the curve on recruiting.
- His NFL defenses weren't all that great anyway. Especially in Cincinnati and in his last year in Oakland. Granted, they did a good job of forcing turnovers, which USF was horrible at doing in 2012. But overall, his NFL defenses were mostly average to below-average. I looked up the DVOAs (defensive value over average) on Football Outsiders for all of Bresnahan's defenses during his eight seasons as an NFL defensive coordinator. Zero is a perfectly average defense, and the lower the number, the better.
- 2000 (OAK): -1.8% (14th in NFL)
- 2001 (OAK): 0.5% (17th in NFL)
- 2002 (OAK): -6.2% (7th in NFL)
- 2003 (OAK): 9.5% (26th in NFL)
- 2005 (CIN): 3.5% (22nd in NFL)
- 2006 (CIN): 8.7% (26th in NFL)
- 2007 (CIN): 9.5% (27th in NFL)
- 2011 (OAK): 9.6% (27th in NFL)
Not really awe-inspiring stuff. Yes, he was the defensive coordinator on four playoff teams, including one that went to the Super Bowl, but you can't say any of those teams got there because the defense made it all happen.
- He was in the UFL last year? GarySJ's going to have about 1000 jokes about that.
- The funny thing is that this might have been a pretty decent hire if USF had ended up with a wide-open, Air Raid type of head coach, because it would be a good philosophical match. If you think you can score every time you have the ball, then having an aggressive, risk-taking defense like the one I remember Bresnahan running is a good idea. You can create a ton of momentum off turnovers, and if it blows up and they score on a big play, then whatever, just go score some more points. That's not the case with Taggart, who wants to run the ball and has a more methodical approach. I don't really think USF is going to be a team that's built to play from behind, and you don't want your defense putting you in a hole by blitzing too much and going for lots of interceptions. (You don't want them completely sitting back and giving up yards and points #LIKEACOSH, either, but somewhere between those two would be good.)
- Knowing Taggart doesn't have as deep of a contact list as some coaches have, you wonder who might have recommended Bresnahan to him. Jim Harbaugh was on the Raiders' staff for two years, so there's that possibility. Or might it have been THISGUY? Perish the thought.