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A Look at Potential Defensive Coordinator Hires for Texas A&M

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Here are some of the top names to replace Mark Snyder.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, Texas A&M Head Coach Kevin Sumlin announced that defensive coordinator Mark Snyder had been relieved of his duties and will not return in 2015. Let's examine the most likely candidates who will be making defensive calls for the Aggies next fall.


Pat Narduzzi

Current School: Michigan State

Age: 48

Chance at being hired: Medium - High

Pat Narduzzi is the current defensive coordinator at Michigan State and is thought of as one of the best defensive coordinators in college football. Narduzzi has helped construct a Spartan defense that has been #1 in the Big Ten conference for three consecutive years. The 2013 squad, which won the Rose Bowl, ranked 2nd nationally in total defense (252 yards per game) and 3rd in scoring defense (13.2 points per game).  The 2014 team currently ranks 8th in total defense. Narduzzi is a native of Connecticut and is more familiar with Big Ten country, having coaching stops at Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Cincinnati, and Michigan State.  Narduzzi turned down the Texas A&M defensive coordinator position when Mark Snyder was first hired. The complicating factor will be whether Narduzzi gets a head coaching opportunity. A move to the SEC and ability to turn around a struggling Aggie defense may, however, mean an even bigger opportunity down the road

Will Muschamp

Current School: Resigned as Florida head coach

Age: 43

Chance at being hired: High

The name that has generated the most buzz on this list is no doubt Will Muschamp. Muschamp, the former head coach of the Florida Gators and former head-coach-in-waiting at the University of Texas, is an SEC lifer, having grown up in Gainesville, Florida, played at the University of Georgia, and has been a defensive coordinator at Auburn and LSU. The players at Florida loved playing for Muschamp by all accounts and were disappointed by his resignation. Muschamp's Florida defense in 2014 is currently ranked 12th in total defense and 23rd in scoring defense. Not only does he have a strong defensive pedigree, but he also has a lot of recruiting connections within the state of Texas from his time spent in Austin and could come in and quickly solidify the Aggies' 2015 recruiting class and provide a spark to get the 2016 class started. This hiring seems like a no-brainer for both parties, but how quickly will Muschamp want to get back to work after a $6+ million buyout from Florida, and would Muschamp want to return to the state of Texas?

David Gibbs

Current School: Houston

Age: 46

Chance at being hired: Medium - High

David Gibbs would probably be the least "flashy" hire made from this list, as he comes from just down the road at the University of Houston. Gibbs, although at the University of Houston, was not on Kevin Sumlin's staff during his tenure there. Gibbs has actually been an SEC defensive coordinator in the past, as he led Auburn's 2005 squad that ended with a 6th national ranking in scoring defense. Gibbs has also spent time in the NFL with stints with the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and Houston Texans. Gibbs is from the same Glen Mason coaching tree as Kevin Sumlin, and is the son of famous NFL assistant coach Alex Gibbs.

Bud Foster

Current School: Virginia Tech

Age: 55

Chance at being hired: Low - Medium

Another popular name surrounding Kevin Sumlin's original defensive coordinator search was Virginia Tech's Bud Foster. Foster has been coaching the Hokies since 1987, and has been thought of as Frank Beamer's eventual successor. However, with Virginia Tech struggling, both Beamer and Foster could be out of a job in relatively short order, especially if Tech loses to rival Virginia this weekend and fails to make a bowl game.  In 2011 and 2012, Foster's defense ranked 7th and 32nd in scoring defense nationally, respectively.

Brent Venables

Current School: Clemson

Age: 43

Chance at being hired: Low - Medium

While Brent Venables will not be a very popular name with a lot of Aggies, Venables did lead a Clemson Tiger defense in 2013 that ranked 25th in scoring defense and 24th in total defense. His 2014 squad currently ranks 1st in total defense 8th in scoring defense, nationally. Venables was on Bob Stoop's Oklahoma coaching staff when Kevin Sumlin was in Norman, so they are familiar with each other. While Venables is comfortable right now at Clemson, there have been some rumbles that Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney could be looking at another opening such as Florida. If that happens, Venables could be looking to join another coaching staff, and Aggieland would be a favorable destination.

Bob Shoop

Current School: Penn State

Age: 48

Chance at being hired: Low

A rising name at the defensive coordinator position is Penn State's Bob Shoop. What makes Shoop an interesting candidate is that not only is he one of three candidates to have SEC coaching experience (Vanderbilt 2011-2013), but he also has also been a head coach (Columbia, 2003-2005). Shoop would be an outside name, as he most likely has had minimal connections previously to Kevin Sumlin. Shoop's record is quite impressive as Vanderbilt ranked 18th, 19th, and 23rd nationally in total defensive during his time there.

Dave Aranda

Current School: Wisconsin

Age: 36

Chance at being hired: Very Low

I'll throw Aranda's name in here although he would be most likely an off-the-radar candidate.  Aranda, at only the age of 36, already has a solid coaching resume. Aranda led Utah State's defense to 8th in the country for scoring defense (15 points per game), and led Wisconsin's defense in 2013 to rankings of 6th in scoring defense and 7th in total defense. Wisconsin currently ranks 3rd nationally in scoring defense. If Texas A&M can spend money to lure anyone they wanted, Aranda might as well be on the list as Winconsin has had problems with other programs poaching their assistant coaches in the past.

Manny Diaz

Current School: Louisiana Tech

Age: 40

Chance at being hired: Very Low

I threw this name in the group just to see the reaction, but there is some seriousness to mentioning Diaz. While many will remember his stint at the University of Texas and then dismissal after an embarrassing performance against BYU, Diaz has actually made a strong comeback this year coaching with Skip Holtz. The Louisiana Tech defense ranks 28th nationally in total defense and 52nd nationally in scoring defense, but improvement from the squad has helped them lead the Conference USA West division. Diaz also is familiar in recruiting Texas, Florida, and now Louisiana.