- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
NORMAN, Okla. -- Jackie Shipp’s departure leaves an opening for Oklahoma to add a defensive line coach who could help the Sooners regain their disruptive reputation along their defensive front. Here are two names that have already been floated plus a few other coaches OU should consider to replace Shipp.
Names to know
Calvin Thibodeaux, Tulsa: The former Sooner appears to be the obvious choice. The Golden Hurricane averaged 8.17 tackles for loss and 3.75 sacks per game in 2012 during Thibodeaux’s first season as defensive line coach. He’d bring young energy and underrated production as a relatively young assistant coach with ties to the Big 12 region and the hunger of a former player eager to prove himself as a coach at his alma mater.
Mike Tuiasosopo, unemployed: Tuiasosopo worked with Mike Stoops at Arizona and fielded a quality defensive line group during his time with the Wildcats. He spent the last two years at Colorado and has 23 years of coaching experience.
Names Stoops and the Sooners should consider
Jim Jeffcoat, Colorado: He just arrived at Colorado after following Mike MacIntyre from San Jose State, yet it’s a phone call worth making. SJSU averaged 3.23 sacks and seven tackles per loss in 2012 under his mentoring. Jeffcoat has Big 12 and Pac-12 regional ties as a former coach at Houston and San Jose State. And, while not a youthful addition, Jeffcoat brings NFL playing and coaching experience to the table. He could be a good fit.
Ryan Nielsen, NC State: A solid recruiter, Nielsen followed former Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren to NC State. Under his tutelage, the Huskies averaged 7.29 tackles for loss and 2.71 sacks per game in 2012. He has SEC experience as a former defensive line coach at Mississippi from 2005 to 2007, yet he’s only 33 years old. He’s also a former All-Pac-10 defensive lineman at USC.
Eric Mathies, South Florida: The 37-year-old is known for his recruiting prowess yet he’s another coach who just arrived at a new position in the last few months following Willie Taggert from Western Kentucky. The 14-year veteran helped WKU average 7.46 tackles for loss and 2.46 sacks per game in 2012. His experience and youth make for an intriguing combination.
Joe Salave’a, Washington State: Salave’a worked with Mike Stoops at Arizona, so he brings a little bit of familiarity. He also brings NFL experience as a nine-year NFL veteran and production as a collegiate coach. His Cougar defensive line averaged 2.92 sacks per game and 7.67 tackles for loss in 2012 during Salave’a’s first season under Mike Leach.
3dJake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon