Koetter moving quickly: Meet the new Bucs assistants
New Bucs coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon that he was bringing in former Falcons coach Mike Smith as his defensive coordinator, but that's just the start of his new coaching staff. Reports from Foxsports.com have three more assistants signing on to join the Bucs.
That means three more Lovie Smith assistants are out -- defensive line coach Joe Cullen reportedly is headed to the Ravens, where defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is expected to become a defensive assistant, according to the Baltimore Sun. Former Bucs linebacker Hardy Nickerson is also gone, as is special teams coordinator Kevin O'Dea.
Here are the three new reported additions ...
Jay Hayes, defensive line: Koetter and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis go way back to Idaho State and more than 30 years ago, and Koetter was somehow able to pry away Hayes, 55, who has been Lewis' defensive line coach since 2003, has had the Bengals in the NFL top 10 in sacks in four of the last five years, with at least 42 sacks in each of those four seasons. He's played a big role in the development of Pro Bowl DT Geno Atkins and DE Carlos Dunlap, and yes, Bengal-turned-Buc-turned-Bengal Michael Johnson.
Mark Duffner, linebackers: The 62-year-old worked with Koetter and Smith in Jacksonville, coaching linebackers under Smith from 2007-09 and overlapping with Koetter for all five of his seasons with the Jaguars. He's been with Dolphins' linebackers coach the past two seasons and, like Koetter, was a college head coach, going an incredible 60-5-1 at Holy Cross, then 20-35 in five seasons at Maryland.
Nate Kaczor, special teams: The 48-year-old is another Jacksonville overlap with Koetter -- he was the assistant special teams coach with the Jaguars from 2008-11, and has spent the last three seasons as the Titans' special-teams coach. Tennessee wasn't anything that great on special teams in 2015 -- 17th in average punt return, 28th in average kickoff return. They missed only two field goals, matching the low for any NFL team, but they also only attempted 16, matching the NFL low.