clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Eight candidates for Maryland's vacant defensive line coach position

With Greg Gattuso headed to Albany, Maryland has a staff decision upcoming.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

With news coming out that defensive line coach (and associate head coach) Greg Gattuso would be taking the head coaching position at Albany, Maryland finds themselves one position coach short of a full staff. Let's take a look at potential candidates for the Terps' vacant defensive line coach position.

Jim Panagos, DL coach, Rutgers

We'll start with perhaps the most likely option, all things considered. Rutgers is in an absolute free-fall, with off-the-field drama spilling into poor results on the field.

All that points to the Scarlet Knights clearing house, and one Rutgers employee who could find his way to College Park is Panagos, who played at Maryland (leading the team in sacks and tackles for a loss in 1992) and would likely be interested in returning to his alma mater. He started his coaching career as a defensive line assistant at Maryland in 1993 before a brief career as a high school assistant in Florida.

Panagos worked in the NFL from 2002-05 with the Vikings, coaching Kevin Williams to an All-Pro campaign in 2004. He went back to the college ranks in 2007 as the defensive line coach at UCF. He established a fantastic reputation in five years with the school, coaching Bruce Miller to back-to-back C-USA Defensive Player of the Year awards and winning's National Defensive Line Coach of the Year for 2009.

In 2012, Panagos was hired by Rutgers, and the Scarlet Knights finished second in the Big East that year in tackles for a loss. This season, they finished fourth in the conference in sacks.

In terms of recruiting, Panagos has primarily recruited within New Jersey but also made some in-roads into Florida -- an area Maryland has dipped into in the past. He's brought in two three-star prospects in each of his two seasons at Rutgers, highlighted by Myles Nash, who was recruited by Arizona and West Virginia.

Hank Hughes, DL coach/DC, UConn

Hughes was Edsall's defensive line coach and coordinator at UConn from 2002-04, before losing the latter title in 2005 in favor of Todd Orlando (now the defensive coordinator at Utah State). He first joined the Huskies in 2001, and has helped coach multiple units ranked in the top ten nationally in either total defense or rushing defense.

The question, of course, is two-fold. Would Edsall want to hire Hughes, who was apparently demoted during his time with the program? And furthermore, would Hughes want to move from a coordinator role to one of a positional coach? Connecticut is in the midst of a coaching change, so his job certainly isn't secure, but he may be able to find a coordinator position elsewhere.

Hughes was promoted back to the defensive coordinator position in 2011, with great success. The Huskies' rushing defense ranked fourth in the country in his first season, and seventh in the country in 2012. UConn struggled as a whole this season, and Hughes' defense was no different, ranking seventh in the AAC in rushing defense.

Jim Jeffcoat, DL coach, Colorado

Jeffcoat was Maryland defensive coordinator Brian Stewart's defensive line coach for one year during his time at Houston, so Stewart could try and re-unite the old band in College Park. A former All-Pac-10 defensive lineman at Arizona State, Jeffcoat played 15 years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowl rings with the Cowboys.

He started his coaching career with the Cowboys in 1998, staying with the team until 2004. In 2008, he was hired by Kevin Sumlin as Houston's defensive line coach, where he stayed through 2010 (Brian Stewart's first year with the school). After two seasons with San Jose State, he was hired by Colorado prior to this season -- moving with head coach Mike MacIntyre.

In 2012, Jeffcoat's defensive line at San Jose State was the only one in the country to have four players ranking in the top 100 in the country in sacks.

Inoke Breckterfield, DL coach, Pitt

Hey, it worked for Maryland last time, right? The Terps snagged Gattuso from Pittsburgh, and Breckterfield has done a fantastic job with Aaron Donald, molding him into perhaps the best interior lineman in the country. An All-American defensive lineman at Oregon State, he had a brief career in the Canadian Football League before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant with Oregon State.

After one-year stints at Weber State, Montana and UCLA, Breckterfield ended up at Pittsburgh in 2012. He did a great job at Montana, turning a unit that ranked 103rd in the nation in tackles for a loss the year before he got there into one that ranked 14th in his first season.

In 2012, star lineman Donald had 18.5 tackles for a loss, and this year had 26.5 with ten sacks. Breckterfield would also fill Gattuso's role as a recruiter of Eastern Pennsylvania, although he's also recruited in Florida, Virginia and Connecticut.

Chuck Amato, DC, Akron

Amato is best-known as the head coach of NC State from 2000-06, where he won four bowl games in seven years, but he was also the defensive line coach at Florida State for 14 years. His defenses at Akron have ranked in the bottom-half of the conference, and he might welcome a move to a bigger stage with better talent (even with a smaller role).

Jeff Hanson, DL coach, James Madison

Mickey Matthews is out at James Madison, meaning a staff shake-up is probably in order. Hanson only came to the Dukes this season, after holding the same position (with the additional title of recruiting coordinator) at Virginia from 2010-12, moving with Mike London from Richmond.

Hason's lines performed fairly well at Virginia, even if the rest of the team didn't, but the one advantage is clear -- he helped bring in top-tier classes to Charlottesville, and he would help ease the loss of Gattuso's recruiting skill.

Eli Rasheed, DL coach, Toledo

The Rockets ranked sixth in the nation in sacks this season, and Rasheed has done a remarkable job with the unit. The recruiting would be kind of an unknown factor, as Toledo isn't an easy place to convince people to come to, but Rasheed has an impressive track record both at Toledo and at Florida Atlantic.

Kris Jenkins, studio analyst, CBS

The former Maryland star retired from the NFL in 2011, and if Randy Edsall wanted to go the Juan Dixon route, this might be the way to go. Jenkins has no prior coaching experience, so this is really just shooting a name out there, but he was a highly successful defensive lineman at both the collegiate and professional level. He made four Pro Bowls during his NFL career, and would bring a different kind of experience to the coaching staff.