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A look at some potential Defensive Line Coach candidates

Sure, why not?

North Carolina State v Notte Dame Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images

Without going full-on POAPS level, I thought I’d take a quick look at some guys that are viable targets for the open NC State Defensive Line coaching position.

The stats below are from Football Outsiders’ Defensive Line metrics. Below is a quick recap blurb about the definitions, which will be helpful:

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Kyle Tatum - UAB Defensive Line Coach

Has produced one of the best and most consistent DL groups across all of FBS over the last two years. In 2019, his DL ranked in the Top 10 in all of FBS in six of nine categories, while ranking 11th in another. And in case you’re thinking 2019 was a fluke, UAB had an average ranking of 8.3 across those nine categories in 2018, with a standard deviation of 8.9, meaning - yeah - this guy can coach.

Tatum is a 2006 Alabama graduate where he was a defensive lineman turned offensive lineman. Played for UAB head coach Bill Clark at Prattville HS in Alabama. Previously coached at Texas State as a graduate assistant (2011-2012) and DT Coach (2013-2015). He was an assistant S&C coach at UAB in 2016 before becoming the DL Coach when the program was resurrected in 2017.

Randall Joyner - SMU Defensive Line Coach

The SMU DL excelled at getting after the QB in 2019. Joyner’s group showed improvement and better consistency from his first to second year coaching the unit, as the SMU DL had an average ranking of 47.1 with a standard deviation of 33.0 in 2018.

Joyner is a former SMU player, so he may not want to move on from his stomping grounds. His other experience includes stops as a graduate assistant DL Coach at Hawaii (2015) and Ohio State (2016-2017). While he’s light on experience, Joyner is considered as a top recruiter and a young up-and-comer in the coaching game.

Walter Stewart - Temple Defensive Line Coach

Walter Stewart - no, not that Walter Stewart - is another young fast-riser in the coaching ranks. His 2019 Temple DL improved across the board (with the exception of a slight drop in Opportunity Rate, going from 44.1% in 2018 to 44.7% in 2019, a drop in the rankings of six spots) from the unit’s performance in 2018 prior to his arrival.

Stewart followed former Dave Doeren assistant Rod Carey to Temple in 2019 from Northern Illinois, where Stewart was the DL Coach in 2018. That NIU 2018 DL ranked 12th in the country in average ranking across the FootballOutsiders DL stats, including ranking 6th in Opportunity Rate and 9th in Sack Rate. All told, the unit was Top 20 nationally in six of nine categories.

Other coaching stops include being the DL Coach at Eastern Kentucky (2016-2017) and Florida A&M (2015), as well as a Graduate Assistant DL Coach at Tennessee (2013-2014) under his college coach, Butch Jones (Cincinnati).

Charley Wiles - Virginia Tech Defensive Line Coach

Timing could be perfect here, as Wiles - a 24-year VT assistant - is looking for a job after not being retained by VT’s new DC Justin Hamilton following the retirement of Bud Foster. Wiles worked with new CB Coach Brian Mitchell at Virginia Tech for the last four years, and as Doeren and new DC Tony Gibson seem to be moving to bring in coaches with familiarity with one another, this could be fortuitous timing.

Virginia Tech’s defensive performance during Wiles’ time there speaks for itself, so there’s not much more needed to be said here.

Shane Burnham - Central Florida Defensive Line Coach

The UCF DL has seen dramatic improvement since Burnham took over starting with the 2018 season. The unit was just a ho-hum group on an undefeated National Championship* team in 2017 and has since improved to one of the best squads in the country in 2019, including leading the country in TFL/game.

Burnham was the DL Coach at Rutgers (2016-2017) prior to his current gig at UCF. He was an assistant at Iowa State from 2009-2015, and also has stops at Elon (2005-2008), The Citadel (2004), and Richmond (1998, 2001-2003). He’s a South Carolina graduate.

Jerrick Hall - Navy Nose Guards and Defensive Tackles Coach

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Hall is an NC State graduate and former Wolfpack player under Chuck Amato from 2000-2003. He was then a graduate assistant at NC State from 2004-2007, before moving on to be the DL Coach at Campbell (2008-2009), Elon (2010-2013), New Haven (2014), Fordham (2015-2016), and Elon again (2017-2018).

Navy’s DL - and the entire defense, for that matter - was atrocious in 2018. With Hall joining the fold in 2019, the DL made vast improvements. The 2018 Navy DL averaged a ranking of 98.8 across the nine FootballOutsiders DL stats; the 2019 Navy DL averaged a ranking of 40.3, including Top 25 rankings in four categories. This helped Navy to a one-year turnaround of 3-10 to 11-2.