Clint Bowen tapped to coach KU linebackers; replaces DeMontie Cross, who is headed to TCU
1:02 p.m. Update:
KU coach Charlie Weis moved fast in replacing TCU-bound linebackers DeMontie Cross, announcing Friday afternoon that current assistant coach Clint Bowen would slide into the role vacated by Cross.
Here's the official statement from KU:
---Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis announced Friday that special teams coordinator Clint Bowen will now coach the Jayhawk linebackers. Bowen, who had previously been working with the KU secondary where he coached safety Bradley McDougald to All-Big 12 honors, takes over the linebackers as DeMontie Cross left Kansas to pursue other opportunities.---
No time table has been given for filling the final spot on KU's staff, but it seems logical to assume that Weis will take his time and make sure that he gets the right fit. In many ways, with Bowen now giving stability to the linebacker position, the final spot on Weis' staff could be used as a wild card of sorts.
Say another top-notch receivers coach expresses interest or an elite recruiter wants to join the staff, KU could then get creative with its titles and make the new coach an assistant receivers coach or a cornerbacks coach. Basically, they can give whatever coach they want any title just to get him on board.
Such an option is made possible by the fact that defensive coordinator Dave Campo is so well versed at coaching the entire secondary.
Expect the final spot to be filled well before spring ball begins on March 5, but most likely not until after signing day — Feb. 6 — which typically marks the final wave of coaching movement during the college football year.
10:58 a.m. Update:
Kansas University linebackers coach DeMontie Cross is leaving the program to take a similar job at TCU, sources told the Journal-World on Friday morning.
Cross, who played college football at Missouri and later coached at MU, Iowa State, Wisconsin and with the NFL's Buffalo Bills before coming to Kansas, was hired by KU coach Charlie Weis last offseason.
During his one season with the Jayhawks, Cross oversaw a linebacking corps that featured two of the top players on the KU defense in sophomores Ben Heeney and Jake Love. Heeney led the Jayhawks — and finished third in the Big 12 rankings — in tackles, with 112, and Love finished eighth on the team, with 36 stops, despite starting just four games. Junior linebacker Huldon Tharp also finished in KU's top five with 55 tackles.
No word or timeline has been given about a possible replacement for Cross, but one likely candidate is current KU assistant coach and special teams coordinator Clint Bowen. Bowen, a former KU defensive coordinator who coached KU's safeties last season, has experience coaching linebackers and already knows the roster and the rest of the coaching staff.
Replacing Bowen in the secondary would be an easier task considering the presence of defensive coordinator Dave Campo, who coached the KU cornerbacks in 2012 and was a longtime secondary coach with the Dallas Cowboys.
Original post, 10:23 a.m.:
Well, it looks like last week's blog about it being a relatively quiet offseason for the KU football program may have been a little premature.
Reports out of Fort Worth, Texas, are indicating that KU linebackers coach DeMontie Cross may be hired by TCU for the same position.
Cross, who played college football at Missouri and later coached at MU, Iowa State, Sam Houston State, Wisconsin and with the NFL's Buffalo Bills before coming to Kansas, was hired by KU coach Charlie Weis last offseason.
Still trying to nail down confirmation on this, one way or the other, so stay tuned.
If the report, which cites two unnamed sources, is true, it will be interesting to see where Weis looks for a replacement.
There are a couple of options inside the program that would make sense — most notably current special teams coordinator Clint Bowen, who has experience working with linebackers and would provide KU immediate stability at the position. In addition, with KU defensive coordinator Dave Campo in place, he could handle coaching the entire secondary as he did for years with the Dallas Cowboys and throughout last season.
Notre Dame alum Maurice Crum and former KU and NFL player Rod Jones also could be considered. Both have solid football knowledge and also have the luxury of knowing the roster and the rest of the coaching staff already.
As we've seen, Weis also is capable of going anywhere to pull in coaches and he could consider someone from another school or perhaps even the NFL ranks.
It definitely will be interesting to see how this plays out. I always was very impressed by Cross, both in terms of his ability to coach kids up and his dedication to what Weis was trying to accomplish here.
Turnover rarely is a good thing for a coaching staff, but losing Cross, though disappointing, would not be the end of the world for the KU defense.
We'll see what happens.