More talk about the ongoing search for KU's next defensive coordinator


Now that the NFL regular season is over, it’s time for all of those coaches who are or soon will become available to find new jobs.

More importantly, it’s time for Kansas University to fill out its football coaching staff.

The search for KU’s next defensive coordinator very much has resembled the search to land Charlie Weis as the school’s new head coach. Quiet, deliberate and full of speculation are just a few of the similarities. The other has been incredible interest from a suddenly football-crazed fan base.

I understand the excitement and the desire to know what’s happening. In many ways, I love it and think it’s exactly what KU football needs. But know this: Nobody knows definitively what’s going on with these hires right now. Maybe not even Weis.

This much we do know: Reggie Mitchell (RBs), Ron Powlus (QBs) and Tim Grunhard (OL) are in. Buddy Wyatt (DL) also seems safe. Beyond that, it looks like Bernie Parmalee (TEs) and Rob Ianello (WRs) will be joining Weis’ staff at some point in the near future. Both would be good hires because of their experience and familiarity with Weis and both figure to be solid on the recruiting trail.

There also has been some increased talk lately about the strength and conditioning job, with Florida assistant Scott Holsopple and former Notre Dame assistant Ruben Mendoza’s names popping up most often. The only hint I’ve been given here is that it’s not likely to be Mendoza.

As for the defensive coordinator position, it remains a mystery. An announcement could come as early as this week or still could be a couple of weeks away.

The only rock solid information I’ve been given about the job in the past few days is that Weis has been waiting for some dominoes to fall before he can actually move on this. I’m sure he’s been putting together lists and talking to whomever he can, but, in a lot of ways, his hands have been tied for the past couple of weeks.

So what dominoes could we be talking about here? Just about everything is on the table.

• Could have been waiting on a coach and/or coaches to get fired
• Could have been waiting for college team to play its bowl game
• Could have been waiting on NFL regular season to end
• Could still be waiting on NFL playoffs to end

The names that have come up most often here have been: Greg Manusky (San Diego DC), Mike Nolan (Miami DC), Al Groh (Georgia Tech DC), Romeo Crennel (interim coach at KC) and Jim Leavitt (San Francisco linebackers coach). As I’ve told you before, I’ve heard that Manusky, Nolan and Groh each were offered the job at some point. I’m not sure I believe that entirely, but that’s what I’m hearing. If that’s true, I don’t know the order of when each was offered.

I think Nolan will search for and find an NFL DC job, perhaps even with the new staff in Miami. I think staying in the NFL is his preference.

I think Manusky could still be in play here. Even if Norv Turner is retained by the Chargers, it looks like Manusky’s out in San Diego.

I also think that Jim Leavitt could still be in the mix. Early on, I was told he would not be a candidate. But that’s been three weeks ago now. Things change.

From where I sit, Leavitt would be by far the best hire Weis could make. He has a solid mix of NFL and college experience, knows Kansas, knows the Big 12 and could be the perfect guy to take over one day if this staff gets things rolling again.

The 49ers are slated to play their first game of the postseason on Saturday, Jan. 14, so if we’re waiting on Leavitt, we could be waiting a while. In fact, if this thing isn’t nailed down this week, I would think that the odds of it being Leavitt increase substantially.

If I had to rank that list in terms of who would be best, I'd go: 1. Leavitt, 2. Crennel, 3. Nolan, 4. Groh, 5. Manusky.

One more thing to mention before moving on, let’s make sure we take a lesson from the coaching search. All that speculation, all those lists, all wrong. Weis’ name was not being mentioned anywhere and he would up being the guy.

If that were to happen here, it would not surprise me at all. That’s just the nature of these types of hires. Charlie Weis is the only guy who knows completely what’s going on right now and he’s not talking.

So we wait. But don’t sweat it. I’ve been told by a couple of people who know how this works — guys who have been a part of it — that Weis could wait until March to hire his DC and it wouldn’t have a negative impact on the program.

Happy New Year, everyone. Is this going to be a fun year or what?

Oh, two more things:

First, don't forget that tomorrow (Jan. 3) is the day that South Bend, Ind., wide receiver Gehrig Dieter is supposed to announce his college decision.

And, second, although we still don't know which KU players won't be back next year, I'm hearing that it's more and more likely by the day that running back Darrian Miller will return.


lv_jhwk 6 years, 5 months ago

As someone who had heard (and shared on this blog) that Miller most likely WASN'T coming back, the report of his possible return is most welcome news.

On the coaching front, Matt, since nothing otherwise has been heard or seen, is it safe to assume that Beatty is not returning/was not asked back to the staff?

Matt Tait 6 years, 5 months ago

I think so. Sounds like he's got a pretty good opportunity at Texas A&M. Nothing set in stone yet, though...

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 5 months ago

Matt great article, I've been going through withdraws waiting for another article.

Just as a note, there is a "would" that should be a "wound" halfway through the article. Also, the last sentence with the words "by the day" should be removed, it makes it confusing.

Excellent Article.

JJHAWK 6 years, 5 months ago

Matt - thank you! Really enjoy your updates. Especially the logical presentation & identification of the few facts available and the one or two rumors that you present as worth repeating - clearly identified as rumor. Makes it very interesting for us fans to see those insights we wouldn't otherwise be privy to. What is so fascinating for me is how often in KU FB history has there been so much fan anticipation over football in the the off season? Historically not so much over the decades. Grunhard as OL coach seems like an absolutely brilliant hire. I sure like how HCCW is taking his time putting his staff together. Like all KU fans everywhere, hope HCCW has recruiting success in the coming month or two. Do we know for a fact how many scholarships are available this year?

Jace FitzGibbon 6 years, 5 months ago

what about trying to get spags? just fired and had an awesome NFL DC resume. maybe he'd be interested?

NJHAWK 6 years, 5 months ago

Spags will be a DC in NFL, as early as next season.

Travis Warner 6 years, 5 months ago

Matt: Any truth to the rumor that Miller doesn't qualify academically? If so what would that mean for him returning to the team? Would he be required to sit a year?

kuilander 6 years, 5 months ago

miller facebook'd he made the honor roll, grades isnt his problem here ...

jhawkjunkie 6 years, 5 months ago

What about Raheem Morris? Got fired by the Bucs and was a d-coordinator up the road in Manhattan. Any chance he could come back to the state of Kansas?

squawkhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Just what we need, another KSU guy. Why don't I see KSU hiring a bunch of former KU coaches?

ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 5 months ago

Remember when Turner hired a strength coach from Arkansas State? SMH, I still hate that guy.

And you would think that if Deiter is down to us and SMU that it has to be a lock for us. After the ASU stuff this summer I don't know how JJ will ever get a recruit to sign with him.

baldwinjhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

True That! June messed up big time in highland park. He totally lost the fan support at smu.

Mike Barnhart 6 years, 5 months ago

In previous statements HCCW has indicated he'll be grooming an OC to take over play calling a few years down the road. Since he's also put a pseudo timetable on the length of his own stay, I'm assuming his DC needs to be a "head coach in waiting." Leavitt's gotta' be the man.

Bville Hawk 6 years, 5 months ago

I figured Powlus was being groomed to take over play calling and OC duties in a couple years.

Does Weis have any history with Jim Leavitt? Since Weis is determined to put together a staff that has 'good chemistry' I can't imagine him hiring anyone for DC that he doesn't already know fairly well. I could see him taking a chance on a position coach who he didn't know, but not a Coordinator.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 5 months ago

That's why I initially thought it was Al Groh, tho I did not realize his age.

Matt Bowers 6 years, 5 months ago

Matt: You've given us a list of five possible candidates and that is great. Do you have a list of 5-10 candidates, you know, a wishlist of your own? Thanks Matt.

Rock Chalk

troutsee 6 years, 5 months ago

Let's hope it is Leavitt and if it is, let's hope he is not the HC in waiting for the other in-state job.

danmoore 6 years, 5 months ago

If K-State wins the Cotton I think there is a chance Snyder will retire. Not much more he could do to enhance his legacy but there are a number of people from his coaching tree that could replace him, Leavitt being one of them. Could also be Venables, Mangino or Patterson. Still puzzled about the Ron Prince hire.

shinanigins 6 years, 5 months ago

There is no way that Mangino will ever be hired by KSU as head coach.

Chris Shaw 6 years, 5 months ago

Matt, have you heard anything else about potentially adding Louisville to the Big 12?

By the way, has anybody else boycotted all the Bowl/BCS college football games? I haven't watched one yet and not planning to so till the season ends next week.

Bville Hawk 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm boycotting the championship game. It's a farce.

Ted Adams 6 years, 5 months ago

It's a "TITLE" game NOT a Chumpionship.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 5 months ago

I've watched a lot fewer of the bowl games this year than historically. The Championship I probably won't watch. I'm still most disappointed in Missouri voting OSU as #4 and Alabama #2.

i also love how all the eperts say that there will be more scoring this time around...really, like there could be any less. They state that there will "probably" be a touchdown the second time around...I wish I was paid to make statements like that.

Enjoying the SC and N game in 3D, incredible.

danmoore 6 years, 5 months ago

Not me. I enjoy watching Big10 take a beating.

texashawk10 6 years, 5 months ago

I was at the Alamo Bowl and that was far and away the most exciting sporting event I have ever been to in my life. I still can't figure out how KU kept Baylor to only 3 points through 3 quarters even if Baylor played one of their worst games of the year that day. This year has actually been one of the better bowl seasons with a bunch of very competitive games that have come down to the final minutes. The Rose Bowl has also been incredibly entertaining today as well.

JHawk06 6 years, 5 months ago

I’m boycotting the Sugar Bowl…neither of those teams should be in it.

Maurice E. King III 6 years, 5 months ago

How about Raheem Morris as Defensive Coordinator / Head Coach in waiting? He is available. Just fired from Tampa Bay as Head Coach.

johnnyphoton 6 years, 5 months ago

I caught a little bit of the PBA yesterday. Pete Weber nearly rolled a 300.

LAJayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago


Hearing anything more about potential recruits/transfers (aside from Dieter, of course)? You mentioned in your last entry a possibility of a mass announcement on the same day... are you hearing anything about that being a possibility? Any idea about how guys are leaning?

As always, thanks for the leg work.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 5 months ago

Just thinking back to HCCW and his days at the Patriots and at ND, I know he does a lot of bubble screens and does a lot of passes to the RB position as well. Thinking back, I can't remember a lot of passing to our RBs this year. With the RBs having been stacked, do any of them have "hands"? I'm not sure if TG actually has plays designed to be thrown to RBs.

Who is our best "receiving" RB?

jhox 6 years, 5 months ago

Pierson should benefit from this style offense, and advancing the ball after the catch. There's little doubt Miller could benefit from catching screens and taking advantage of one on one opportunities.

I don't care who our D coordinator is as long as it is someone who will actually make adjustments at half time, especially against KSU.

manginodrh00lz 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't think he knows there is football on the west side of the Allegheny mountains.

tical523 6 years, 5 months ago

What about coach Beaty??? We have to keep him, the players love him!

JayHok 6 years, 5 months ago

Happy 2012 all.

Does anybody know Dieter's twitter? In talking to an old Jayhawk friend the other day, he mentioned an unconfirmed rumor that Dieter asked explicitly on his twitter "which university should I choose, SMU or Kansas?"


Kenny Terry 6 years, 5 months ago

He did tweet that but then later tweeted just kidding I know where I'm going. I might be totally wrong but reading between the lines of some of his tweets it sounds like it might be smu

danmoore 6 years, 5 months ago

Leavitt is at the top of my list. All the others would be okay but I have concerns about an NFL DC coming to Lawrence and jumping ship the following season. Kind of like what happened with CW. Would not blame him if he did but it would be nice to have more stability.

danmoore 6 years, 5 months ago

Before Zenger hired a head coach the LJW published an extensive list of possible candidates and Charlie was not on that list so it is not safe to assume any of the above will become our next DC.

Matt Tait 6 years, 5 months ago

No doubt about it. With Weis not sharing any information, all we can do is put together a list of guys who make sense and see where that takes us...

Going to spend the bulk of tonight searching for more names.

This thing's either almost over or just beginning.

Blake McFarland 6 years, 5 months ago

Very happy to hear that Miller looks to be coming back. That kid has a high ceiling and should work very well in the new system Weis will run.

middleoftheroader 6 years, 5 months ago


ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 5 months ago

A civil missouri fan...kind of different than what we usually see on these boards.

johnnyphoton 6 years, 5 months ago

Did you want Mizzou to the move to the SEC? Regarding Nebraska, I had hoped F(ormer)HCTG would bring some Husker, a.k.a. Osborne, magic, but he didn't. As far as Husker nation getting the air sucked out of its massive balloon, I couldn't help but wonder if the same type of fate is in the offing for MU when it gets to the SEC.

danmoore 6 years, 5 months ago

I enjoyed seeing the cobs lose as well but then I enjoy watching ALL big10 teams lose.

LAJayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

How does it feel to be two feet and a instant replay away from winning?

ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 5 months ago

Oddly enough, very familiar!!! Remember the title game last year, and AU running back did the same thing?

wildjayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

ahpersecoachingexperience, have to agree with you about the Missouri fan, nice to see that.

Jack McEnaney 6 years, 5 months ago

Coach Romeo Crennel, we have bad news for you, unfortunately you are not in the plans to continue coaching with the Kansas City Chiefs. There are options for you though! You can go coach under Charlie Weis and be defensive coordinator for The Kansas Jayhawks, or go back up to Foxboro for a reunion with Bill Belichick (apparently they are having trouble on defense.) Which option would you like to explore?

Why do I have a feeling he will find a job with someone else?

Jack McEnaney 6 years, 5 months ago

By the way, please let me be wrong, please let me be wrong! I would love to have crennel teaching the jayhawk defense. I just don't see it happening.

Bee Bee 6 years, 5 months ago

Romeo had a GREAT record in Cleveland. Don't need him.

Bee Bee 6 years, 5 months ago

Romeo had a GREAT record in Cleveland. Don't need him.

Eric Dawson 6 years, 5 months ago

Ahhhh, another fix... thanks, Matt.

Good news re: Miller. None of the rumors made sense to me. 1. Why would a really good RB not want to play for Weis? 2. If grades were bad 1st semester, he had 2nd to get them right, right? (Good to see grades aren't an issue).

Only thing that would make sense would be if he was Gill's guy, then it would be understandable that he might consider leaving.

Your point about the Weis hiring process indicating that coverage of the DC hiring process is nothing more than an educated guessing game with the potential for no resemblance to the final reality is spot on. Still, since nature abhors a vacuum, it's good to have something talking about it here, especially something that serves to help us keep an even keel in this swirling sea.

2nd star to the right and straight on 'til morning, Mr. Tait!

HIMYM 6 years, 5 months ago

As a Niner fan and Jayhawk fan, I am torn over Leavitt. I want him to stay with the 49ers because their defense is solid, but our Hawks really need a quality DC. The Hawks do need him more.... Dang this sucks! How about he splits duties... just kidding.

KGphoto 6 years, 5 months ago

That Niners defense is running on High-Octane Harbaugh.

JayHok 6 years, 5 months ago

Since we'll wait at least another few hours on the DC, I'm currently considering our threats on offense next year in Weis' pro set.


Dual Runningbacks for misdirection, draws, darting-action with the ball and blocking---Miller/Simms/Bourbon

SlotBack----Pierson {please, please, please get this man the ball in the open field}

Wide Receivers----McCay?, Dieter?, Butler?, Shepard, 5 Star Missouri receiver?

Tight End---6'9" transfer from the Arkansas razorbacks?

Line----entire redshirted large and larger line from last year plus the experienced group already in place, coached by Grunhard.

Personally I can't wait to see what Weis can do with the offense next year.

RCJ Dieter!

labbadabba 6 years, 5 months ago

Not sure if you know something I don't but if McCay and this mystery Arkansas TE transfer they won't be eligible to play next year.

Andy Tweedy 6 years, 5 months ago

The kid from Arkansas that JayHok is referring to is a WR that already transferred last summer (Neal Barlow). And according to a Tait or Newell article, McCay may be able to use an NCAA hardship clause that allows him to play immediately (not sure about the specifics of that though).

laserdoc 6 years, 5 months ago

Hey JayHok! No way we get DGB he will end up at Arky or MU! Dieter to SMU! McCay if he comes to KU will have to sit one year! Same with Arky TE! Shepard committed to OSU and will not be changing anytime soon and if he does he'll end up at MU (which is where is mother wanted him to go). Everyone needs to be patient with the process. Personally, the season will be a success if win 4-6 games the first year of the CW era. You have to build a foundation just look at the teams to the East and West of us. Because we bring in perceived big names with NFL experience does not equate to success in recruiting and on field results. The Big 12 is a tough conference and it will not change in our favor anytime soon. Who on the conference schedule will be automatic wins next year? OU, OSU, Texas, Baylor, TCU and KSU all look like losses! Tech and ISU are toss-ups! Tech will be much better defensively (bring back 8 starters of whom most were FR, RFR and Soph) and ISU brings back most of their team from this year! And if WVA is in the conference based on their performance tonight against Clemson I'd put that down as a loss as well. WVA brings back most of their team as well. We should feel fortunate A&M and MU have left the Big 12 for the SEC or those would be losses too! We need to be realistic for the first 1-3 years. Win the four non-con and hope you win 2-3 conference games to become bowl eligible! Just my realistic and humble opinion.

jgkojak 6 years, 5 months ago

The Chiefs would be idiots to not hire Crinnel - since they hired Todd Haley, we know they're idiots. That said, I'd guess Crinnel has the Chiefs job and if he doesn't get it - he is instantly snatched up by someone in the NFL to be their DC.

bradh 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't know that the Chiefs would be idiots not to hire Crennel, especially if they can get Cowher or Fisher. Crennel looks like he's earned his chance and will likely get the job. I'm not sure how hiring Haley shows they were idiots. They had been extremely bad for several years prior to his hiring and he took them to a division championship in his second year with only one receiver in a league that relies heavily on receivers. This year without his pro bowl RB, TE, and safety, while losing his pro bowl QB half way through the season, he won nearly as many games as in the two years prior to him getting there.

Mike Barnhart 6 years, 5 months ago

Cowher, Fisher and Gruden have all publicly stated they wont take any job without a franchise QB in place or a very high draft pick. It doesn't need to be said, the Chiefs don't have either one!

jgkojak 6 years, 5 months ago

The Chiefs would be idiots to not hire Crinnel - since they hired Todd Haley, we know they're idiots. That said, I'd guess Crinnel has the Chiefs job and if he doesn't get it - he is instantly snatched up by someone in the NFL to be their DC.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Todd Haley took a 2 win team and won 10 games and the division with them in his second season... How is he an idiot again?

Crennel seems to be a great guy, but he didn't do so hot as a HC.

squawkhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, he did a great job at KSU. Maybe he could do the same at KU.

laserdoc 6 years, 5 months ago

Why in the world would we want an MU grad to be our DC??? Leavitt played and graduated from MU didn't he?? I believe better options are available!

Bville Hawk 6 years, 5 months ago

If you know so much, please tell us who it is. Or,... do you not know so much?

ohjayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

bville_hawk - You need to look at LarryNative's post above. Apparently, he is convinced that the DC is going to be Al Groh (the current DC at Georgia Tech). Time will tell if he's right.

Bville Hawk 6 years, 5 months ago

OK, thanks, ohjay. Do Groh and Weis have any kind of history of working together anywhere?

ohjayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

No problem, bville. I think they coached together in the 90's with the Giants, Patriots and Jets.

Bee Bee 6 years, 5 months ago

How s the search for good DEFENSIVE PLAYERS GOING? I m a little more interested in that. An occasional article reference that would be great. Rock Chalk!

Kansashawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Do you enjoy being cryptic? What is the purpose?

labbadabba 6 years, 5 months ago

KU hasn't offered. Don't think we'll risk a scholly on such a long shot when we should be offering to JUCO Defensive Tackles...

JayHok 6 years, 5 months ago

First two players listed on the All American high school team Weis surely has been in contact with. One of them is to announce today.


Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, 6-6, 225, Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.), Undecided The nation’s No. 1 recruit and all-time leading receiver ended his career with a fine senior campaign. Green-Beckham caught 199 passes for 2,233 yards and 24 touchdowns. Videos

Gehrig Dieter, WR, 6-2, 210, Washington (South Bend, Ind.), Undecided A first team all-state selection, Dieter caught 82 passes for 2,181 yards and 24 touchdowns, setting several national records in the process, including 447 yards receiving in one game against Elkhart Central.

JayHok 6 years, 5 months ago

Here's clips of the unsigned #1 recruit in the nation. On one play Dorial Green-Beckham's coach stacks three wideouts on one side and leaves Dorial all by himself on in one on one coverage on the other side.

Weis would have so many different schemes for a player like this. Here's what I'm envisioning---- Triple wideouts with Dieter, Lightening Pierson, possibly Butler and/or our 6'9" Arkansas transfer on the right side. Dorial Green-Beckham on the left side isolated in one on one. Crist back to pass.

If anyone cheats in coverage, Crist will find it, otherwise with four defenders pulled outside, audible at the line and the draw is wide open for Miller, Simms, Bourbon or Lightening Pierson, depending on where Weis puts him.

All speculation at this point, but at least looking at Dieter's twitter, there sure seems to be a lot of Jayhawks as followers and he sure seems to stay in touch with Butler. Hopefully Beckham and Butler have had a chance to study Weis' four superbowl rings along with Dieter.


blackhawkjayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago


Throughout his career, Groh has been a friend and protégé of Bill Parcells, working with him for over 13 years in both collegiate and professional positions. Groh was an assistant under Parcells in two Super Bowls, including a 1990 Super Bowl XXV victory with the New York Giants and a 1996 loss in Super Bowl XXXI with the New England Patriots.

The idea of Groh as heir apparent would be wrong, based on his age. I would guess that the Giants/Pats connection is why he would leave Ga. Tech for KU? Otherwise, it's a straight lateral move at best. I'm thinking that Powlus or Grunhard would be groomed as heirs for Weis.

blackhawkjayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Has anyone seen Gehrig's tweets? Not sure about the 'tude......

JayHok 6 years, 5 months ago

Dieter has confidence, he has great hands and just received first team status! His tweets are all in good fun. Most of the tweets to his friends giving support, that's what a good teammate does. He has a lot of Jayhawk followers.

He tweeted a few minutes ago that Dayne Crist contacted him today, which to me is great news. Also he's wanting to read tweets from the fans in the next few minutes, either, "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" or the other schools' saying "Oh You Go!"

I like this All American's spirit!

His twitter is---- gehrigd4

Calijhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Mike Clark, the Strength Coach of the Chiefs is a KU grad, and may be in flux because of the staff turnover there. Weiss should know him from the year he spent there. He is also very well known as one of the best in the business...being at A&M for all that time, then the Seahawks. His leg complex workouts are legendary...

bbj 6 years, 5 months ago

Good to hear the Miller is coming back, I thought he had a good year as a freshman. On the coaching front I would love any of these guys. Romeo Crennel (Cheifs), Jim Leavitt (49ers) or Greg Manusky (San Dog). It looks more and more that Romeo will get the job in Kansas City, so that leaves the other two and I would not be mad at that. Looking forward to spring ball, Rock Chalk!

Vernon Riggs 6 years, 5 months ago

ESPN is reporting that KC Chiefs announcing Romeo Crennel as Head Coach.

Kevin Long 6 years, 5 months ago

I see KU is getting a visit from a JUCO all-american RB! Not to complain, but I would like to see some more action on the def. side! That's were most the improvment is nedded. Any new leads on possible DC's???

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