Doba will be coordinator; reshapes staff on D

WASHINGTON STATE head coach Bill Doba has turned to a trusted – and proven – face to take over as the Cougars' defensive coordinator. He's assuming the role he held for nine years prior to becoming head man in 2003, he told Cougfan.com on Friday. In addition, he'll be coaching the linebackers as part of a wide-ranging reshuffle of coaching duties on the defensive side of the ball.

"I'm looking forward to it," Doba said of his additional duties. "We'll see how it works out for a year and then decide if it's best for the long term."

With Doba also taking on the linebackers – a position he coached at WSU for 14 seasons before becoming head coach – Leon Burtnett will move to the secondary as safeties coach, with Ken Greene remaining in charge of cornerbacks.

Three of the Cougars' four secondary starters this past season were seniors, and the replacement talent isn't especially experienced. "That's an area where we need to pay a lot of attention this year," Doba said.

Marty Long, who got his coaching start under Doba at The Citadel two decades ago, joined the staff this week as defensive ends coach – a position formerly held by defensive coordinator Robb Akey, who now is head coach at Idaho. Mike Walker will remain defensive tackles coach.

Long comes to WSU after three seasons at Nevada. He was at Arizona for eight seasons prior to that, helping shape the nationally ranked defenses the Wildcats had under Dick Tomey. He also has coached in the Canadian Football League. "Marty is an excellent coach, a real technician, and an outstanding recruiter," Doba said.

Long, who was a computer and math major in college, is known be highly analytical and is a frequent speaker at coaching clinics. He also had virtually the same recruiting area in California for Nevada as Akey had while at Washington State.

DOBA, ENTERING HIS fifth season at the Cougars helm, said he had approached Burtnett about the coordinator's post, but the former Purdue head coach and Indianapolis Colts coordinator convinced him that the best thing for the team, and Doba personally, would be Doba himself taking over day-to-day responsibility for the D.

Doba said he "stayed away from the defense almost entirely" over the last four seasons. "There's an old saying in coaching that you never want to coach the position that the head coach used to coach. You don't want your defensive coordinator always looking over his shoulder."

The Cougars were consistently among the Pac-10's stingiest defenses – the 1994 team, in fact, ranking No. 2 in the nation -- during Doba's tenure as coordinator. That success continued in Doba's first year as head coach, but over the last three seasons the Cougars twice finished among the 40 most porous defenses in the country. All three seasons also were punctuated by a series of narrow losses.

Doba said he would call on Burtnett to help him break down game film, but that he was going to be very hands on with his new defensive duties. He also said he's comfortable wearing three hats – head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach – and doesn't envision the need, at least at this point, to name an assistant head coach.

Robin Pflugrad was Doba's assistant head coach from 2003-2005. The role wasn't filled when Pflugrad was hired by Oregon a year ago.

"The biggest constraint on time will be during a ball game," he said, noting the demands of the broader coaching decisions that must be made while at the same time talking to players coming off the field about adjustments. "We'll make it happen – and talk fast," he quipped.

Asked if he also was planning to reshuffle offensive coaching duties, Doba said no. "Last season we were No. 1 in the Pac-10 in passing offense, No. 3 in total offense and No. 5 in rushing offense, so I think we're doing pretty well there."

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