A week ago the Bearcats dismissed defensive coordinator Art Kaufman and defensive tackles coach Fred Tate from the coaching staff. As of now, the defensive coordinator’s replacement is still unknown (don’tsayKerryCoombs don’tsayKerryCoombs) but one of his areas of responsibility appears close to being filled. In addition to organizing the entire defense, Kaufman also got his hands dirty by coaching the linebackers. It created a slightly unique problem for Tuberville to solve.
But according to Pete Roussel, it appears the Cincinnati head coach has found the man to take over linebacker duties for the Bearcats. His name is Jeff Koonz, the current linebackers coach at Louisiana Tech.
LA Tech linebackers coach Jeff Koonz is expected to join the Cincinnati staff, per source. http://t.co/nrvvEOngII
— Pete Roussel (@coachingsearch) January 10, 2014
In all likelihood, Koonz will join UC’s staff in the same capacity as with the Bulldogs. His resume isn’t robust but he appears to be an up-and-coming young coach. Before joining Louisiana Tech in 2010, Koonz spent some time as Iowa State’s defensive backs coach in 2007 and 2008. For what it’s worth, those were the same years when defensive guru Gene Chizik was the head coach of the Cyclones. But Tuberville probably most remembers him for his days as an assistant with Auburn in 2003 and 2004, when the now Cincinnati head coach was running the Tigers.
As a linebackers coach at Louisiana Tech, Koonz witnessed many of his players consistently finish with over 100 tackles. One of his linebackers, Adrien Cole, actually earned WAC Defensive Player Of The Year honors in 2012. It’s too early to say just what kind of impact Koonz will have at UC from a coaching perspective but there are encouraging signs with this hire. In my eyes, at least.
But if we learned anything from the Kaufman and Tate firings it’s that Koonz will have to get it done on the recruiting trail. Based on his past history, the linebackers coach will likely be responsible for cultivating the recruiting grounds in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Those states are pretty well picked clean by SEC schools and Cincinnati doesn’t have as strong of a presence there as compared to say Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida but I see that as a good thing. Koonz could lay inroads in those states and perhaps pick up a few commitments for the Bearcats along the way.