Carrying on a special tradition

Replacing former special teams coach Mike Sweatman figured to be a difficult task for new Bears coach Lovie Smith because of the team's special teams efficiency over the past five seasons.<p>

Smith has named former Eagles assistant Dave Toub as the special teams coordinator to try and follow up on the success Sweatman had with Bears coverage units and return men R.W. McQuarters and Jerry Azumah.

Dave Toub spent the last three seasons as an assistant to Eagles special teams coach John Harbaugh, who won 2001 NFL special teams coach of the year. In 2002, the Eagles were the only team ranked in the top five in their average starting point for drives after kickoffs (31.1-yard line, ranked 3rd in NFL) and opposing starting position (26.6-yard line, 5th).

Toub also took over defensive line coaching duties with the Eagles during the 2001 season when they beat the Bears in the playoffs after Eagles defensive line coach Tommy Brasher had surgery to remove a malignant tumor from behind his ear.

Toub stated coaching in 1986 at Texas El Paso, where he went to college. He served as the school's strength and conditioning coach in 1987 and 1988 and from 1989-98 was in the same role at Missouri. He became Missouri's defensive line coach from 1989-2000 before going to the Eagles in 2001.

While with the Eagles, Toub on occasion went through workouts with players to make a point during practice. His only playing experience in the NFL involved training camp stints with the Eagles in 1985 and Rams in 1986. He was an offensive lineman, who earned all-WAC honors at UTEP.

The Bears also named Mike Bajakian offensive quality control coach and Lloyd Lee defensive quality control coach as Smith's staff began to fill out. As of Monday, the Bears still officially needed coaches for defensive line, running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs, although it's well known that Vance Bedford is staying on as defensive backs coach.

"The defensive backs are quality and we've got Vance Bedford who's stayed on and he's got an opportunity to coach the guys that he's had in the last couple of years," defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said.

Smith said he will interview some coaches who were on the Bears' staff last year, including defensive line assistant Richard Dent.

Bajakian spent two seasons at Rutgers as the defensive backfield grad assistant coach under new Bears offensive coordinator Terry Shea. Bajakian coached Central Michigan's quarterbacks in 2002 and 2003 after spending three years as Michigan's quarterbacks coach.

Lee's background includes the past three years as a scout with the Bucs who also assisted the pro personnel department in recruiting and signing NFL free agents as well as compiling reports on free agents.

He was a player on the Chargers' roster and practice squad in 1998 and 1999 after playing safety at Dartmouth and earning Division I-AA All-America honors.

Smith hopes to have his entire staff chosen by the Super Bowl.

"Right now we're kind of trying to knock out a few each day," he said.

He also hopes to have an off-season workout schedule drawn up by Feb. 1. The team is allowed an extra minicamp because of the change in coaching staffs.

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