The Coaching Hot Board: DC

It appears Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini is on his way to the Sunshine State. If so, who will be hired to replace him? After some digging around, Big Red Report takes a stab at who Bo Pelini might just call. Judging by previous hires, it will be someone he's familiar with.

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Mike Stoops

Current Position: Recently fired as HC at Arizona (41-49)
Age: 49
Stoops is the type of name that would excite Husker fans. Not only would he be an instant impact to Nebraska's recruiting efforts, but the thought is Stoops could take pressure off of Bo Pelini – letting him become more of the CEO over the program. Both attended Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, OH and both were on the Iowa staff in 1991. When Stoops was fired by Arizona in October, Pelini weighed in on the decision. "I think it's ridiculous," said Pelini. "He's a heck of a football coach. He'll land on his feet someplace."

Ron Zook

Current Position: Recently fired as HC at Illinois (34-50)
Age: 57
There might not be a coach who could be a bigger recruiting splash than Zook. He's reputation has been for a while, great recruiter, great person, not the greatest head coach. Zook was Bo Pelini's position coach at Ohio State, so a relationship is already there. It's unlikely that Pelini will hire an outsider he doesn't know, it wouldn't match his previous hires. Zook would be nearly the same type of splash in fan's eyes as Stoops. He's been a defensive coordinator three times in his career: Cincinnati (1981-82), Kansas (1983), and Florida (1991-93).

John Papuchis

Current Position: DL/ST coach at Nebraska
Age: 33
Considered to be the biggest up and comer on the Nebraska coaching staff, Papuchis added recruiting coordinator to his resume this year. Before Lincoln, he was on the LSU staff for four seasons, working closely with Bo Pelini while he was the Tigers defensive coordinator. There is a trust factor between Pelini and Papuchis which makes him the early favorite to replace Carl Pelini. How about this idea? Name Papuchis co-defensive coordinator with Bo Pelini and replace Carl with somebody on the offensive side of the football field.

Larry Johnson

Current Position: Co-DC/DL at Penn State
Age: undisclosed
Currently in his 15th season at State College, Johnson doesn't have any other major college coaching experience. Before PSU, he was a legendary coach in the Maryland Public School district, earning six Coach of the Years honors and collecting a 139-36 record. It's believed that the PSU staff will be let go in the offseason when a new coach comes in to replace Joe Paterno. Johnson is familiar with Big Ten offenses and is known to be a solid recruiter. He is the father of NFL running back Larry Johnson. Johnson also has a connection with Nebraska running backs coach Ron Brown through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization.

Jimmy Burrow

Current Position: Assistant HC/DC at Ohio
Age: 57
A former All-Big Eight Nebraska defensive back in the 1970s and then graduate assistant coach in 2001-02, Burrows has spent the last seven seasons with Frank Solich at Ohio as the defensive coordinator. In a league where high scoring has been the norm this season, Burrows defense averaged 22.1 points per against, good for 33rd in the country. A true journeyman, Burrows has coached all over the country: Pac 12, Big 12, HS ranks, arena football, and MAC. He's probably not the name that brings the biggest splash, but once a Husker always a Husker.

Doug Mallory

Current Position: Assistant HC/Co-DC at Indiana
Age: 47
The LSU defensive back's coach under Bo Pelini at LSU, Mallory is in his first season at Indiana as the Co-Defensive Coordinator. In his first season with the Tigers in 2005, Mallory's secondary rated first in the SEC and third in the nation in pass defense efficiency with a 96.3 rating. A former Big Ten player, Mallory would be at his third school in three years, which seems not likely. But a relationship with Pelini is already built, so it's not out of the question.

Mike Eckler

Current Position:Co-DC/LB at Indiana
Age: 40
The former Nebraska linebackers coach from 2008-10, he also has experience with Bo Pelini at LSU as a graduate assistant on the defensive side of the football. He's only been at Indiana one year and it's unlikely he would make the jump back this quickly, but because of the familiarity – his name has to be mentioned. A four-year letterman at Kansas State University, Ekeler was a linebacker and special teams standout for head coach Bill Snyder's teams, including the 1993 Copper Bowl and 1994 Aloha Bowl squads.

Other Names To Know

Larry Porter

Current Position: Recently fired as HC at Memphis (3-21)
Age: 39
Porter is the type of name we expect to hear if there are changes on the offensive side of the football – either by guys leaving to follow Carl Pelini, staff going elsewhere, or changes. For example, Nebraska wide receivers coach Rich Fisher played linebacker in college. Porter can coach on the offensive side of the football and has a relationship with Bo Pelini dating back to LSU. Porter was the Tigers running backs coach.

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