With the Tennessee Vols ending the speculation yesterday that Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden would become their next head coach by inking ex Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin to a deal, there is new speculation centered around our coaching staff. It is being widely reported that Lane would like to bring his father Monte Kiffin on one board as one of his top assistants, and presumably as the defensive coordinator.
There were reports of the same when Lane became the head coach in Oakland, but it appeared as though Monte turned him down. This situation is a little different though. Lane has the ability to be a fixture of Tennessee Vols football for a long time, and his father has the ability to coach with his son, and retire doing so. Monte is 68 years old this year, so most likely he has another 6-7 years coaching football. Why not do it with your son for a great college football program in one of the best conferences in the country?
Let’s assume Monte goes with Lane and the Bucs are forced to find a new defensive coordinator, knowing that we’ve had the same one for the last 14 seasons, who would be the top candidates? I personally think the list is very short, and very solid, with all of these coaches having ties to the Monte Kiffin/Tony Dungy defensive regime in Tampa. I’m going to list the guys in the order in which I happen to like them.
Raheem Morris – Morris is a coach on the rise in the NFL coaching ranks. The one season in the past 12 that the Bucs have struggled defensively, was when Morris vacated his defensive backs assignment with the Bucs to be the defensive coordinator for the Kansas State Wildcats. I love this guy, he is intense, and he knows how to teach players how to play. Being as though he is going to get looks from other teams as the defensive coordinator and we will not be able to keep him, this would be the ideal situation. He takes over for one his true proffesors of the game in Monte Kiffing, and the Bucs don’t skip a beat moving forward.
Rod Marinelli – I truly feel bad for Rod. The roster the Lions have assembled in the Detroit truly consists of one great offensive player (Calvin Johnson) and one great defensive player (Ernie Sims) and the rest of the team is crap. Marinelli is certainly going to be fired when a new GM and regime take over in the offseason, and once again one of Monte Kiffin’s students will be available to run our defense. Coming back to Tampa to be our DC is just a natural progression for Marinelli. There is one extra perk for hiring Marinelli. We would most likely be bringing back Joe Barry (Rod’s son in law) who is currently the defensive coordinator for the Lions. He was previously an LB coach with us. Brining back Rod would essentially be bringing back two former assistants. This is another situation where I don’t think the Bucs lose a step defensively or stylistically as we’ll continue to use the same defensive approach we have had for a decade.
Larry Coyer – Jon Gruden loves Larry Coyer, it seemed like the minute he was relieved of his duties as defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, Gruden brought him on board to work with the Dline and be the Assistant Head Coach. His title currently makes him an obvious front runner if the DC spot were to open up because of the departure of Monte. He has brought some elements to our defense that I love currently, namely the rotation of defensive lineman that all possess multi-position versatility. The Jimmy Wilkerson hybrid types were not part of our defense before Coyer got here, and I think they bring a new element to the Tampa 2. I tend to think we could move towards a more multi faceted defense if Coyer were to take over incorporating some 3-4, some standard man 4-3 and our traditional Tampa 2.
Herm Edwards – I’m not positive if Herman Edwards will be the fall guy in Kansas City after the season or not, but if he is, the Buccaneers will gladly bring him back. He doesn’t seem like the best head coach, but there are tons of assistants in every sport who just aren’t cut out to to be the head man, but are one of the best in the business as assistants. To me, this is Herman Edwards. Another Monte Kiffin/Tony Dungy disciple, Herm would energize the fan base just like Marinelli would. The fans around the area hate seeing the Dungyites leave, and this would certainly assuage the loss of Monte, as least to the fans. Herm would most likely be running an identical defense to what we run now.
I would imagine it would be kind of pointless to look outside these 4 guys as they all have huge ties to the Tampa area. Anyone of these guys would allow us to lose an icon such as Monte and make the transition easy.