1. Will

    “Who would y’all rank as the top 5 DCs in the Big 12?”

    Interesting question. It’s a 10 team conference, there’s been turnover at two schools so I don’t know much about Orlando (other than what you’ve written) or the new guy at Baylor. We can safely take Stoops and Gibbs off the table so that gives us 6 returning guys and two relatively unknowns for Big 12 fans for 5 spots.

    Shooting from the hip I’d say Gibson, Hayes and Spencer are a clear top 3 among the returning DCs. Glasgow hasn’t really accomplished much after Bumpas left. Heacock had an up and down year from what I saw. So Orlando and whoever Rhule is bringing in could be in the top 5 by default and they are probably pretty good given their track records and their head coaches’ faith in them.

    • ianaboyd

      I like your top 3 pretty well, I think Heacock actually showed out pretty well last year. Their defense wasn’t good but they had zero good DL, wait and see what it looks like when they do and you may find that he’s worthy of consideration.

      Hayes is good, he’s executing Snyder’s defense but he’s probably doing it under his own strength at this point. I’m a big fan of Gibson and Spencer, I’d probably put Spencer at the bottom of those three.

      It’s an interesting discussion, might be hard to develop a clear pecking order before this upcoming season.

      • Will

        That’s a fair point about Heacock, the cupboard was bare for him up front. I’m expecting progress from his unit because they definitely showed flashes this year.

        • ianaboyd

          They got some JUCO DTs I think could be good, and then a 6-7 Aussie they probably shirt if they can who’s just learning the game.

          Flipped Joel Lanning over to mike this spring also, they’re really gonna be interesting this next year.

          • Will

            The Lanning move is interesting, QB to MLB is certainly not something you see every day. I didn’t see any of his big games (I don’t even think he was on the field against WVU, he didn’t do anything if he was), but his rushing numbers suggest from pretty good athleticism for a guy who is listed at 230-240. If he has any instinct for the position, he could be a pretty big piece for them.

          • ianaboyd

            I bet they wish they had two years to work it out (Lanning to mike). But his specialty was the QB run game, seeing blocks and LB angles in the box and then taking the right trajectories with enough force and speed to exploit them. There’s a lot of overlap between that and playing linebacker.

            Ty Summer, who is now TCU’s best linebacker, had HS film at QB similar to Lanning’s film at Iowa State. I had him pegged as a future LB for that reason and sure enough, last year he took over the position early in the year and ended up with over 100 tackles. I don’t know if Lanning can figure it out quite that fast and he’ll have less protection in front of him (I think) from the Cyclone DTs than Summers did…but he might have similar success.

  2. Cameron

    I completely agree with all but one of your choices for top-5 DCs: Bud Foster. And its not like I don’t think he is a good coordinator. I’d just put guys like Clancy Pendergast, Kevin Steele, and Manny Diaz ahead of him. So I’m really just nitpicking on that pick.

    But to your question about the top-5 DCs in the Big12, that’s tough. Tony Gibson would be at the top with Bennett gone. Snow and Orlando are unknowns at this point (in Big12 play, anyways). Bowen is so hamstrung by the lack of talent its hard to tell how good or bad he really is. So probably Hayes, Spencer, and Glasgow as 2-4. I guess that leaves Heacock at 5? Weird.

    • ianaboyd

      I’m a big fan of Pendergast but he’s spent a big part of this decade in the NFL so his resume isn’t as fleshed out and accomplished as some of the other guys. I’m a big fan of Diaz as well, he’s close to erasing the stain of the 2012-2013 Texas seasons. His pal Bob Shoop was also considered and is a fringe top-5 guy in my book.

      Kevin Steele is an interesting submission that I totally overlooked. He figured out the key to modern defense last year at Auburn but his track record this decade is kinda spotty and doesn’t include enough DC gigs.

      I think Snow and Orlando will end up getting penciled in near the top. Bowen is pretty solid, although my opinion of him was harmed when a college coach pointed out to me how horrible his gameplan was for handling Oklahoma in 2014 when Perine went for like 400 on them.

      It’s hard to work out the list for B12 guys without a more clearly established criterion to compare across different situations. A national top 5 I feel like I can go more by numbers and resume whereas picking nits between these guys I think I need something more precise that measures recruiting, scheme, fit, development, and game planning.

      I love Spencer’s development and game planning, don’t love his schemes quite as much, for instance.

      • ianaboyd

        Oh yeah and Foster, his ability to adapt and to maintain top units across such a long period of time and now with a new, spread HC at the helm rather than his old boss really stood out to me. He’s not been consistently elite this decade but he has had a couple of top 10 units.

      • Cameron

        Yeah, as Manny Diaz is frequent to point out, college coaching comes down to four things: acquiring talent, developing it, deploying it, and instilling the technique for your particular deployment. So comparing DCs across schools invariably means weighing factors like those to come up with some holistic grade. Makes it tough.

        I think over time, Gibson, Snow, and Orlando will end up topping the DC list in the Big12. But I’ll hold off on handing out any trophies before the latter two have had some time to develop their respective systems.

      • Will

        I totally forgot about Bowen! I’ve been impressed with him given the talent he has on hand but mostly because he seems to have TCU’s number every year.

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