MSU loses third assistant to Big Ten rival

In the face of losing his third assistant coach to a rival Big Ten program in three months, don't blame MSU head coach <B>John L. Smith</B> if he's feeling a little overworked. Smith, though, could use the defections as an opportunity to boost recruiting if he chooses replacements that have ties in the hotbeds of Pennsylvania, Texas or Florida.

EAST LANSING - Don't blame coach John L. Smith if he feels a little more overworked than normal. Coach Smith lost another assistant, his third of the year, to a Big Ten rival.

The long rumored move of defensive line coach Steve Stripling to Michigan became true over the weekend. Stripling moves into the same position he held at Michigan State. Yesterday defensive backs coach Paul Haynes took a similar position at Ohio State, but Hayes said, don't read more into the situation than it warrants.

"Everybody is going to try to read into it more than there really is," Haynes told the Lansing, MI State Journal. "I can only speak for myself and this is a job I've always wanted since I started coaching."

"It's an opportunity to get my family close to family. When you're from Ohio, it's the kind of move you want to make," said Haynes.

He and his wife currently reside in Columbus and have a nine month old daughter. The new Buckeyes defensive backs coach said that was a major factor in his move to the University.

"I am delighted that Steve Stripling is joining our coaching staff as the defensive line coach," said University of Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr in a statement to the media. "Steve has an outstanding background both as a player and coach. He is a great addition to Michigan Football."

Smith has not made any public comment on the defections and isn't expect to do so until MSU spring practice sessions.

He last hired Kent State running backs coach Ben Sirmans for the same position in East Lansing replacing former recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell who bolted for a similar position at Illinois. Sirmans is expected to have an immediate impact recruiting the state of Ohio.

Smith could look again to the MAC ranks, promote a graduate assistant or hire someone away from a rival programs staff including his former Louisville group. It also may be a great time for Smith to look for an assistant who has recruiting ties in the hotbed of Florida, Texas or Pennsylvania.

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