Arkansas coach Houston Nutt has not been available for comment since his regular Sunday news conference on the heels of Friday's season-ending 43-14 loss against No. 14 LSU that dropped the Hogs to 5-6 and out of bowl contention for the first time in Nutt's seven seasons.
But an insider close to the situation offered up some possible candidates to become Arkansas' defensive coordinator: Tampa Bay Bucs linebackers coach Joe Barry, Oklahoma associate head coach/defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Pitt defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads and Miami Dolphins defensive nickel package coach Bill Lewis.
Barry, 34, apparently heads the list. He joined the Bucs in 2001 after assisting the defenses of Southern Cal, Northern Arizona and UNLV. He was part of the Bucs' 2002 Super Bowl run and he's the son-in-law of Tampa Bay defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.
But according to Ira Kaufman, NFL editor for The Tampa Tribune, Barry likely is out of Arkansas' league.
"I do not believe that would happen," Kaufman said. "But if Marinelli left after this season for another post somewhere, I think that could change Joe Barry's thinking."
Marinelli, who was courted by the Chicago Bears as a defensive coordinator before the Bucs squashed the negotiations, has yet to renegotiate his contract that expires after this season.
But what's the take on Barry, who played linebacker at Southern Cal?
"Joe Barry is held in very, very high esteem by coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen," Kaufman said. "He is the son-in-law of defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, who is considered perhaps the best coach at his position in the NFL. So they've got a good family thing going on here in Tampa.
"There was some question whether Joe Barry would re-sign an extension that would keep him in Tampa or would he move on elsewhere after this season? Our best information is he has decided to stay with the Bucs for the next few years.
"If Monte Kiffin (defensive coordinator at Arkansas from 1977-79) should leave as defensive coordinator, Joe Barry would be a prime candidate. He is considered an up-and-comer among the young coaches in the NFL. He has a lot of talent to work with in Derrick Brooks, of course, here in Tampa.
"He's very energetic. He's the type of guy that if Derrick Brooks intercepts the ball and starts heading down the sideline, Joe Barry is going right down the sideline with him, headphones and all. Lot of passion, lot of enthusiasm.
"He's a young guy, but the players really respond to him."
At 33, Venables also is a young guy. But it's hard to imagine him leaving the top-ranked Sooners and the dominating defense he has helped construct in his six seasons as co-defensive coordinator unless it's for an NFL coordinator job or a Division I head coaching stint.
Venables was named associate head coach before this undefeated season. Before heading to Oklahoma, Venables assisted Kansas State defenses from 1993-98.
Rhoads, 36, has been Pitt's defensive coordinator since 2000. The Panthers are 7-3 heading into Saturday's game against South Florida and head coach Walt Harris was named this season's Big East Coach of the Year.
Before heading to Pitt, Rhoads worked with defenses at Utah State, Ohio State, Pacific and Iowa State.
Lewis, 63, has Arkansas ties, having coached defensive backs here for Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles from 1973-76.
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