Much like Thomas Brown and Ben Strickland, Daronte Jones is still in his infancy as a college football assistant coach. And much like the two players mentioned, it’s worked out pretty well for Jones thus far.
Slowly working his way up the coaching ladder since finishing his college playing career at Morgan State in 2001, Jones started out having been a defensive coordinator at various high schools and a graduate assistant in college football’s lower divisions until getting his first division 1 opportunity as a graduate assistant at UCLA, with an emphasis on cornerbacks.
After getting his first assistant coaching job as a defensive backs coach for Montreal in the CLF, Jones joined Norm Chow’s first staff in Hawaii in 2012 as the secondary coach. After two seasons, Jones was promoted to the team’s associate head coach.
In 2012, with the help of all-Mountain West cornerback Mike Edwards, the Warriors ranked 11th nationally, allowing 182.8 yards per game. This past season, however, despite the team returning nearly its entire secondary, Hawaii finished 89th against the pass. Overall, the Warriors ranked fifth in the Mountain West in scoring defense and sixth in total defense.
RecruitingWisconsin appears to have multiple options of where to put Jones on the recruiting trail. Having spent the last three years in Hawaii, Jones could team with defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield to recruit the West Coast and the Islands. A native of Maryland and having coached at Bowie State in Maryland, Jones could also set up shop on the East Coast and fill the void left by wide receivers coach Chris Beatty.
It appears the latter is the most likely, as Jones has already been down in Florida recruiting for the 2015 class. Last year according to our database, Jones was recruiting over three dozen kids from the East Coast to Hawaii, not the easiest sales pitch. The result was Hawaii getting a couple kids from Florida and Maryland. If he can sell players on the lengthy journey to Hawaii, getting them to Wisconsin shouldn’t be a problem.
The mark of a good assistant coach is how often his players go out of their way to compliment his schemes, teaching and philosophies. During his one year in the NFL, Tim Tibesar apparently didn’t have his name mentioned all that often.
Tibesar – who will coach Wisconsin’s outside linebackers coach – reportedly did not generate many positive reviews during his one year stint with the Chicago Bears in 2013, according to a NFL source.
Hired by former boss Marc Trestman, who was fired after this past season, to coach the linebackers, the Bears gave up 6.2 yards per play on offense, 2,583 rushing yards (5.3 yards per rush) and 3,730 passing yards. The Bears were 31st in total defense and dead last against the run, leading to Tibesar’s firing.
According to the source, Chicago players and one Bears executive weren’t pleased with Tibesar’s coaching philosophies or abilities.
“The Bears linebackers this year were raving about how the new linebackers coach was teaching better techniques, putting them in better positions to win,” said the source. “It was obvious they were so happy that Tibesar was gone. Bottom line, they felt confused by what they were teaching.”
Serving one season as Purdue’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, the Boilermakers’ defense allowed just under 416 yards per game last season and ranked 11th in the Big Ten in 2012. In that season, Wisconsin beat Purdue, 38-14, in West Lafayette, Ind., as the Badgers outgained Purdue 645 to 252, ran for 467 yards and saw Montee Ball run for a career-high 247 yards.
However, his defense at Purdue led the Big Ten in interceptions, forced fumbles and takeaways.
He was hired by then head coach Danny Hope after spending three seasons at Montreal in the CFL, spending the first two years as linebacker coach and the last as defensive coordinator under Trestman.
The 2011 Alouettes completed the regular season with the CFL's top-rated run defense, allowing merely an average of 92.4 yards per game. The 2009 Alouettes finished the season ranked first in 22 of the league's 26 defensive categories and finished second in fewest points allowed per game in CFL history. Montreal won the Grey Cup in 2009 and 2010 as the CFL’s top team.
Tibesar’s best coaching season came in 2007 when he was promoted to Kansas State’s defensive coordinator after running the special teams in 2006. Under his direction in 2007, the Wildcat defense led the Big 12 Conference in sacks per game (2.5) and finished fifth in the conference in turnover margin. At Kansas State, Tibesar mentored six players that earned All-Big 12 honors.
In 2006, KSU scored more special teams touchdowns (7) than any team in the nation, leading the country with a school-record three TDs on kickoff returns, ranking second nationally with three TDs on punt returns and returning a fumbled kickoff return for another score.
In the return rankings, Kansas State ranked No. 1 in kickoff returns and No. 16 in punt returns, while ranking No. 18 in kickoff-return defense. The Wildcats also blocked three punts during 2006.
Tibesar started his coaching career at Cornell as tight ends coach in 2000 before spending five seasons coaching inside linebackers (2001-03) and as defensive coordinator (2004-05) at his alma mater, North Dakota. Tibesar was a four-year letterman at linebacker for North Dakota from 1993-96, serving as team captain his final two years.
What Tibesar may or may not lack in coaching he makes up for in character. Described by the same source as a “really good guy,” Tibesar has an opportunity to be an effective recruiter for the Badgers in the way he can relate to players and families.
“He fits more as a college coach,” said the source. “He felt like he was in over his head with the Bears, and he didn’t earn the respect of the players. To be fair, he was dealing with Lance Briggs the year after Lovie Smith was fired, and Briggs has been checked out for two years. That may have had something to do with it, too.”
As of yet, Tibesar hasn’t been mentioned by any Wisconsin commits or Badgers prospects as having met with them.