Steve Robertson -

Bulldog Defensive Backs Coach Linked with New Titans Staff

Good thing Mississippi State football has held off on announcing the two new assistants for 2016 on defense. Because if reports from the NFL are correct, Dan Mullen has to replace another on that side of the staff room.

Various outlets covering the NFL report Deshea Townsend will be hired as defensive backs coach for Tennessee. Mississippi State has not confirmed the departure and the Titans have not announced a hiring yet.

This return to professional football is not a huge surprise for everyone who has worked around the 40-year-old Townsend. The timing, is. Though this also can explain why Mullen has yet to make an official announcement of the hiring of Peter Sirmon as defensive coordinator/linebackers coach; and Terrell Buckley as cornerbacks coach.

That last item ought have been a clue that Mullen won’t be caught unprepared by this move. Townsend had coached Bulldog cornerbacks for three seasons but with Buckley coming on-board was expected to move to safeties, not because it was his ideal spot but to make room. Buckley’s hiring wasn’t just to get a new cornerbacks coach either. He and Sirmon are both brought in to ramp-up Mississippi State’s recruiting energy. There also was an expectation Townsend would have the title of co-coordinator added, though reports are he hoped to be considered for sole coordinator status originally.

Going to the Titans also makes good sense for Townsend thanks to old connections that will be re-established in Nashville.

Townsend spent 13 seasons in professional football, and coached two years with Arizona before coming to Mississippi State. The All-Pro cornerback can work for two with former coaches now, from his 1998-2009 tenure with Pittsburgh.

The new head coach of the Titans, Mike Mularkey, was on the Steelers offensive staff as first tight ends coach and then offensive coordinator 1996-2003. More immediately, Titans defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau was also on the Steelers staff, in his second stint, as the defensive coordinator when Townsend was playing cornerback. They were together five years in Pittsburgh, 2004-09.

Sirmon and Buckley have both been on the job for nearly two weeks and busy recruiting. They participated in last weekend’s first round of official visits by prospects. The second round begins Friday evening.

The Bulldog defense now has line coach David Turner as the lone hold-over from the 2015 staff.

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