TCU linebackers coach DeMontie Cross is taking a dream job at his alma mater, which means a familiar face could be getting a promotion at TCU.
Cross, who came to TCU via the Kansas Jayhawks and the NFL, is going back to where he played college ball to coach with some of his former teammates. Newly named head coach Barry Odom played inside linebacker for the Missouri Tigers in the late 90s, while Cross played outside linebacker.
The loss is a blow to TCU, as they lose a coach who helped turn out the next generation of TCU linebacker greats, including third-round draft pick Paul Dawson. Cross was also a prime recruiter, helping haul in players like Innis Gaines and Deriq King (the latter of which recently reopened his recruiting; no doubt there’s a correlation with Cross’s announcement).
Cross is expected to coach TCU’s bowl game against Oregon, and by all accounts, is departing TCU’s program the right way. And for the former Tiger, it looks like he’s heading into a great position for himself while expanding Gary Patterson’s coaching tree into another high-profile gig.
Now, all that said, TCU now has an opening for a position coach. This linebackers coach would have to be able to work with Gary Patterson - who is very hands-on when it comes to linebackers and his defensive front - and know the 4-2-5 defensive scheme inside and out. Some coaching experience would be preferred, and someone with TCU roots would also be a preferable candidate.
Now, if only TCU could find a guy who knows TCU’s system, works well with Gary Patterson, knows a thing or two about college football, perhaps saw some time in the NFL, and, I don’t know, is insane when it comes to competing…
Yeah, yeah, TCU should be fine.
Jason Phillips has been a part of TCU’s defensive improvements this year, serving as the defensive grad assistant under Gary Patterson this last season. He was a four-year letterman for the Frogs, earning several All-Mountain West honors while racking up 315 career tackles, 7.5 sacks and 38 tackles-for-loss for the Frogs in 50 games for TCU.
In addition to being the first player in MWC history to be named first- or second-team all-conference four straight seasons, he was also named the state’s best linebacker by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football and was on lists for the Butkus, Nagurski and Lombardi Awards.
He went on to be drafted in the fifth round by the Baltimore Ravens in 2009, and spent six years in the pros. ACL injuries kept him from being as dominant of a player in the pros, but you can be the one trying telling this guy that he’s not tough:
TCU certainly may go outside for a hire and allow Phillips to get more coaching as a defensive assistant, but given previous history, Jason Phillips would be a heck of a college coach at his alma mater. No other hire would revere the decisions of Gary Patterson more, and few, if any, would know more first-hand about TCU’s defensive schemes.
Just like Cross is a perfect fit for Mizzou, Phillips very well could be a perfect fit at his alma mater as well. Don’t be surprised if the announcement appears in a few weeks.