I haven’t had a chance to dig too deeply, but I’ve spent some of this afternoon trying to figure out which coaches Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen might be looking at to fill his defensive coordinator vacancy. I’m sure I haven’t made nearly all the connections, but here are a few I’ve come up with so far, presented alphabetically. Not many likely candidates in here.
• Gary Andersen: The connection – He was Utah’s defensive line coach in 2004, Mullen’s second and final year there (as quarterbacks coach). Andersen then became defensive coordinator and assistant head coach from 2005-08. Where is he now? Andersen is the head coach at Utah State. Would he come? Unlikely. It’d be a step down, especially since he’s only been at Utah State one season. The Aggies went 4-8 this year.
• Tim Beckman: The connection – He was DC and assistant head coach at Bowling Green from 1999-2004; Mullen was quarterbacks coach there from 2001-02. Where is he now? He’s the head coach at Toledo. Would he come? Unlikely. See: Andersen. (Toledo went 5-7 this year, Beckman’s first.)
• Greg Mattison: The connection – He was Florida’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Florida from 2005-07. Mullen, of course, was at Florida from 2005-08 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Mattison also was Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator from 1998-2001; Mullen was a graduate assistant in South Bend from 1999-2000. Where is he now? He’s the DC for the Baltimore Ravens. Would he come? Probably not. He’s in charge of the NFL’s eighth-ranked defense.
• Chris Rippon: The connection – He was a longtime assistant at Syracuse, including defensive coordinator from 1999-2003. Rippon was the special teams and linebackers coach in 1998, when Mullen was a graduate assistant at Syracuse. Where is he now? Good question. He left Rutgers following the 2008 season to “pursue other opportunities.” Mr. Google can’t find him, which means neither can I. Would he come? Maybe. He has SEC experience, having served a stint at Ole Miss coaching special teams and defensive backs. Apparently, he needs work.
• Kyle Whittingham: The connection – He was Utah’s defensive coordinator from 1995-04. Where is he now? Still at Utah, now as head coach. He took over the position when Urban Meyer left for Florida and took Mullen with him. Would he come? Unlikely. He’s in a good spot. The Utes are 9-3 and will play California on Dec. 23 in the Poinsettia Bowl.