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Breaking: Syracuse football hires Zach Arnett as new defensive coordinator

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SU makes a hire from San Diego State... just not the one we expected.

New Mexico Bowl - Central Michigan v San Diego State Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Since the football season wrapped up over a month ago, we’ve been wondering who would be the new Syracuse Orange defensive coordinator.

We thought Dino Babers was hiring Navy’s Brian Norwood. And then, after Rocky Long visited this past week, we thought the (now former) San Diego State head coach could be the hire.

On Saturday, we learned the Orange made a hire from the Aztecs’ staff. However, it’s not Long.

Syracuse has hired San Diego State defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Zach Arnett to serve as the team’s new DC. Arnett was the Aztecs’ defensive coordinator for the past two years, and he also served as the team’s linebackers coach from 2014-17. He was also a grad assistant at SDSU from 2011-13, so he’s been pretty tied to Long — perhaps why Long headed to Syracuse on January 6.

Arnett’s SDSU unit was ranked sixth in total defense this past year, and 21st in 2018. The Aztecs were third in scoring defense in 2019, and 32nd in 2018. If you’d prefer to look at advanced metrics (not a bad idea), San Diego State was 21st in defensive FEI in 2019 and 31st in 2018.

Welcome aboard to the New Mexico native (and UNM graduate)! It’s good to have the defensive coordinator spot filled, and hopefully we hear word about the other open positions/spots in question on the staff in the near future as well.