Happy New Year to all, especially to Boiler fans with another (surprisingly) good hire by coach Darrell Hazell. After adding to the offensive side of the ball with the signing of Tim Lester as the quarterback’s coach, Hazell turned his focus to the defense and found his new defensive coordinator Ross Els.
Els last coached at Nebraska from 2011-2014 under former head coach Bo Pelini. While he wasn’t the defensive coordinator for the Huskers, Els did coach the linebackers for a team that was more than two games above .500 in all his seasons there. This hire is not going to make any big headlines but if Els can coach under Pelini, he sure can coach at Purdue under Hazell.
Off the field, Hazell continues to value guys with strong recruiting skills. Just like Lester while at Syracuse, Els was the recruiting coordinator while at Nebraska. He will more than likely have some connections on the recruiting trail where Purdue desperately needs help at almost every position.
The Boilers may not be done tweaking their defensive coaching staff. There may be an opportunity for linebackers coach Marcus Freeman to get a pay raise.
I predicted that Freeman may be the next defensive coordinator and there have been murmurs of co-coordinating the defense. Co-coordinating has become popular in college football on the offensive side of the ball at places like Baylor and Bowling Green. While usually not done on defense, Purdue may be in the perfect situation to give it a shot.
Freeman is too talented of a coach to just be a LB coach and the Boilers risk losing him to another school if they keep him in that role without a pay jump. Here is what the defensive coaching staff could look like in 2016.
Defensive Line: Randy Melvin
Linebacker: Marcus Freeman
Defensive Backs: Taver Johnson
Defensive Coordinator(s): Ross Els & Marcus Freeman(maybe)
Welcome to West Lafayette Coach Els, Boiler Up!
Kyle Holderfield, DDSports Staff Writer