Monday, February 18, 2008

Defensive Coordinator Bolts

According to the Star Tribune, Everett Withers is leaving his position as defensive coordinator with the Gophers for the same position on Butch Davis' staff at North Carolina. Withers didn't comment to the Star Tribune, but it appears as if it is being spun by Minnesota officials that Withers always wanted to coach at UNC. Withers also got a small raise.

In the early days of PJS I profiled Withers here, and was pleased with the hire because Withers' resume indicated he would bring an attacking defensive philosophy to the Gophers. Early on last season it appeared as if Withers was trying to attack defensively, something the Glen Mason regime wasn't inclined to do. But eventually Withers learned that the talent level on the defense wasn't high enough to allow our secondary to handle one-on-one type scenarios. Eventually, Withers' defense was forced to play on its heels. Because of the dearth of talent, it's hard to blame Withers for the sieve of a defense he coached last season.

So, perhaps he simply wanted a fresh start. And the STrib speculates in the linked story above that me might have left because of a desire to be closer to family in North Carolina.

But the other angle to this is to ask why have we seen two defections from Tim Brewster's staff in the last week? Last week Director of Football Operations Randy Taylor resigned "to pursue other opportunities." So, after Tim Brewster puts together one of the best recruiting classes in the history of the program, two staff members bolt? If I were still a reporter, I'd be telling my editors that I believe something strange is going on.

Instead of pursuing that line of thought, we can instead speculate on a possible replacement. The one candidate the STrib mentioned to replace Withers is Kevin Cosgrove, the former Nebraska defensive coordinator who is said to have a long relationship with Brewster. I'll try and provide more names as they are speculated upon publicly.

We will also understand more about this situation when a new coach is hired. Will someone with a solid reputation come to Minnesota to coach with a still unproven Brewster?


Test said...


Anonymous said...

Losing a football operations guy is akin to losing a secretary....but it wouldn't be PJS if there wasn't some sort of "scandal".

Anonymous said...

Losing a football operations guy is akin to losing a secretary....but it wouldn't be PJS if there wasn't some sort of "scandal".

PJS said...

Probably not, anon, and suggesting something is strange doesn't translate to scandal.

snyde043 said...

If you believe Sid, Taylor left because of family issues more than anything else...I don't think that can really be put on Brewster or the program.

Withers leaving bothers me a little more just because I would've liked to see how he did with more talent, but I know lots of folks who have made career changes to go back home.

PJS said...

Very true, snyde.

The timing strikes me as odd, but I used to get paid to question everything like this so I'm predisposed to contemplate hordes of alternate scenarios.

And whenever I hear "family issues," or "to spend more time with family," I always remember numerous instances as a reporter when that rationale was trotted out to explain the questionable end to other professional relationships.

For fans here of The Wire, who watched Carchetti dispose of the the police chief while sugar coating it, you know what I mean.

But that doesn't mean there is fire here or even smoke. It just means if I were a reporter on the Gophers beat I'd be sure to do a little investigating.

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