The real prize on Dantonio's staff is defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who, if he takes the same position at Michigan State, will be coaching at a major university for the first time. While Cincinnati competes in the Big East, it is mostly considered a mid-major.
Narduzzi has had tremendous success on the MAC and mid major level, building a dominating unit at Miami when that team finished ranked 10th in the country and whipped John L. Smith in his last appearance as Lousiville head coach in the GMAC bowl.
His philosophy is to run a simple, uncomplicated scheme that calls for speedy players who can attack and make plays. The style has worked well in the Big East, keeping opponents on their heels.
Narduzzi could be tapped for the UC head coaching job, but if he wants the kind of visibility that would eventually land him a head coaching job at a major university, he might jump at the chance to run a Big Ten defense.
Offensive coordinator Don Treadwell is familiar with East Lansing having been the wide receivers coach under Bobby Williams from 2000-02. Treadwell runs a balance, pro-style attack that could suit the talents of Keith Nichol, MSU's prized recruit from Lowell, MI. Treadwell's offense had a 2,500-yard passer, a 1,000 yard rusher and a 1,000 yard receiver at Cincinnati, something that should appeal to returning MSU players like receivers Devin Thomas and Terry Love, running backs Jehuu Caulcrick and Javon Ringer and quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Connor Dixon.
One would figure that hard-hitting former Michigan State defensive back and current Cincinnati defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett would be a shoe-in to return to his alma mater. Barnett has a love for the University and would no doubt love to be a part of the new staff that turns around the Spartans fortunes.
There is some school of thought that quarterbacks coach Dan Enos could be retained from John L. Smith's staff to keep some continuity in recruiting.
Tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Mark Staten would also likely be a priority hire for Dantonio. Staten served as recruiting coordinator for Ohio State and that kind of experience would be invaluable for a new coach at a major university for the first time.