DOGS TAP EX-REBEL FOR DEFENSE

CATEGORY: FOC College Football

AUTHOR: PHELPS

DOGS TAP EX-REBEL FOR DEFENSE

JOE LEE DUNN ACCEPTS MSU COORDINATOR JOB

By Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

The blitz is coming to Mississippi State.

Former Ole Miss interim head coach Joe Lee Dunn, who is known for his stunt-oriented defensive schemes, announced Sunday that he has accepted the position of defensive coordinator at Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs, who finished 3-8 last season, where ranked last in the Southeastern Conference in total defense and 11th in scoring defense.

“Sure, it’s a challenge,” said Dunn in a telephone interview from his home in Fayetteville, Ark., where he was defensive coordinator this past season for the SEC Western Division champion Arkansas Razorbacks. “If I didn’t feel like I could help them, I wouldn’t go there.

“I was impressed with State’s facilities. They are better than we have here (at Arkansas). And, there are a lot more good players closer to there. There’s no reason in the world why we can’t win every year here at State.”

The job came open when former coordinator Bill Clay, who is now at Texas-El Paso, resigned following the season. Lynn Amedee was hired last month by MSU head coach Jackie Sherrill as offensive coordinator to replace Bruce Arians.

Dunn, 49, was interviewed by Sherrill last week.

“I want to get them where Coach Sherrill wants them to be (defensively), and where I want them to be,” Dunn said. “I’m excited and eager to get started. Hopefully I can help them out.”

Dunn has worked his defensive magic at every stop he’s made in recent seasons.

His 1993 Ole Miss team was ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense. Last season, the Razorbacks were rated No. 5 in the SEC in total defense and No. 27 nationally. Prior to his three-year tenure at Ole Miss, Dunn’s defenses at Memphis were among the nation’s best.

Dunn served as interim head coach at Ole Miss in 1994 following the firing of Billy Brewer.

“I’m going to (MSU) to do the best job I can,” Dunn said. “I don’t feel funny having coached at Ole Miss. Ole Miss is just one game a year. My friends at Ole Miss can dislike me for that one game (laugh).”

The fact that Starkville is closer to Dunn’s hometown of Columbus, Ga., was another factor in his decision to leave Arkansas. Dunn’s wife, Susie, is also from there.

“The only negative thing is the fact that they’re staring NCAA probation in the face,” he said. “But that was negated because it’s closer to home for us.”

Dunn hasn’t talked with Sherrill about defensive staff personnel. Line coach Pete Jenkins left earlier this month to go to Auburn.

“We’ve still got a lot of things to talk about,” Dunn said.

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