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Syracuse Football: Who Might Dino Babers Hire on His Defensive Staff?

We don't have any leads HERE either. But nothing wrong with projecting...

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Syracuse Orange have hired Bowling Green's Dino Babers to take over the program, he'll obviously need to hire a staff under him. While we don't know the budget Babers and Syracuse will be working with to fill out the staff, we can at least take a guess on who he might be targeting to help him succeed here. That's to emphasize: These are DEFINITELY guesses.

Bowling Green Staff

Kim McCloud, Assistant Head Coach -- Wide Receivers, Bowling Green

McCloud may be on the offensive side of the ball now, but from 2008 through 2014, he was a defensive coach on any Babers staff (Baylor, Eastern Illinois, Bowling Green). There's a shot that the "assistant coach" nod was a chance for Bowling Green to start setting up the program for Babers's eventual departure. Before that, though, he was an aggressive defensive coordinator that notched all-Big 12 nods and well-regarded groups in both the Ohio Valley Conference and MAC, respectively. The two are pretty loyal to one another, so don't be shocked to see this occur.

Brian Ward, Defensive Coordinator, Bowling Green

This one's unlikely. Ward will coach the Falcons in their bowl game this December. And because Ward's only been coaching division I football since 2010 (didn't stop another Syracuse coach...). But in just a handful of years at North Dakota State, Drake and Western Illinois, he's done well and has a penchant for recruiting well in the Midwest. If for some reason, he's a late addition, that might mean we've gone pretty far down the line for this search. Moving on...

Tom Kaufman, Special Teams Coordinator, Bowling Green

Kaufman's a toss-up to come along, especially if Babers goes and brings back Special Teams Quality Control Coordinator Steve Gregory. For the past three years (two at Bowling Green), Kaufman's coached under Babers. But the big draw for him to stay there is that he's a BGSU grad. Under a new coach (especially Ward), Kaufman might move up quicker with the Falcons. It would be a shock to see him come with Babers.

Nick Monroe, Assistant Coach -- Secondary, Bowling Green

Working under Babers for the past two seasons, Monroe has helped the Falcons' defense become one of the most effective groups in the country -- and as we all know, the Orange really need help in the secondary. Monroe has stuck around Bowling Green since 2010, and before that, he was at Colgate, so he knows the terrain here in Central New York. For the past two years, Bowling Green has been top-20 in interceptions in the entire country. With a young secondary at Syracuse, Monroe could potentially do very well coaching them up and meeting their assumed potential.

Mike Mickens, Assistant Coach -- Cornerbacks Coach, Bowling Green

Mickens is a former player at Cincinnati, and also spent a few years in the CFL and NFL before heading back to college to coach. His experience isn't necessarily a match from a geographical standpoint (Idaho, Indiana State), but it's such a short resume to this point that he could certainly grow a recruiting footprint a ton. In some ways, he'd make a lot of sense if Babers brings over Monroe. In others, you'd think it's either Mickens or Monroe coming along (especially if Gregory's returning). Keep an eye out on him and Monroe's moves.

Extended Dino Babers Coaching Tree

Phil Bennett, Defensive Coordinator, Baylor

Bennett and Babers only coached together for a season at Baylor. So the "tree" remark is probably a stretch. And if you're honest with yourself, you know that Bennett (or any coach) is not leaving Baylor for a comparable job at Syracuse. He's only a thought because of his time in the Midwest (Purdue), as well as his experience as defensive coordinator and interim head coach at Pitt (2008-2010). But yeah, he's a Texas guy, so don't hold your breath unless he's let go from his post with the Bears for some reason (again, unlikely).

Brian Norwood, Defensive Coordinator, Tulsa

Norwood and Babers served on the same Babers staff from 2008 through 2011, and are both members of the Art Briles coaching tree. Norwood's currently on Phil Montgomery's staff down in Tulsa, along with Babers (and Briles) offensive protege Sterlin Gilbert. Tulsa's gotten itself back to a bowl game this year, but did so with one of the worst defenses in college football (126th in total yardage per game). Gilbert's the more likely add from that Tulsa staff, but don't be surprised if Norwood's name comes up in conversations, at the very least.

Thurmond Moore, Defensive Coordinator, Brophy College Prepatory

Don't let the current job description scare you off too quickly. Moore was on the same UCLA staff as Babers in 2005, and in a previous life, he also coached the Syracuse defensive line from 1999-2000 (some pretty good seasons for the Orange). Moore's been at a lot of spots, and has never really stuck in one place for very long. But if he and Babers still have any sort of rapport, maybe it's a consideration, even from a non-staff perspective.

Paul Rhoads, Former Head Coach, Iowa State

Rhoads and Babers overlapped at Pitt back in 2003, so this is not a "strong tie" by any means. But at the same time, because Rhoads is currently out of a job and has held several power conference jobs on the defensive side of the ball, e could come up. He's a big name without being a BIG name. And while Iowa State's defenses were never all that amazing under Rhoads, he's still got the experience and network to be a draw for recruits and potentially run that side of the ball in a way that helps him position himself for a head coaching gig in a couple years. We put his name here over other, bigger names (Ed Orgeron, Al Golden) that have less links to Babers and therefore, are probably a little less likely to come to SU right now.

Chuck Bullough, Former Defensive Coordinator, Syracuse

Oh hey! We know this guy! And it ends up Babers does too, from the time they were both on the UCLA staff back in 2005 and 2006. It's pretty unlikely more than a name or two returns from Scott Shafer's regime. But if the team's looking for an easy continuity grab and one that could help keep younger players/recruits in the fold, he could be an idea. Personally, I think Bullough's far too tied to Shafer, and let's face it, this year's Orange defense was garbage. But it would be negligent to ignore his name just yet.


Tim Daoust, Former Defensive Line Coach, Syracuse

This one may be a whole lot more realistic than Bullough, while still retaining the same key qualities -- except for a lower cost. Daoust almost left SU this past offseason, when the Pitt defensive coordinator job came calling, so he's not SO loyal to Shafer that he's only working for him and him alone. Also, despite a rough 2015, Daoust has really done wonders with the Orange defensive line in his time on campus. The one caveat is he's unlikely to return as anything but defensive coordinator, and Babers could have other ideas (see above) there. Earmark this as a possibility, but definitely more likely scenarios -- most of which are in this post.


Miss anybody else that jumps out at you as a clear possibility? Love or hate the names above? Share any and all thoughts you may have on Babers's defensive hires below.