Snyder leaving Bulls for Texas A&M job
USF defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, who has run the Bulls' defense in Skip Holtz's two seasons in Tampa, is leaving to take the same job at Texas A&M, Holtz confirmed Monday afternoon.
Snyder, 47, who was head coach at Marshall for five years before coming to USF, is leaving one old Conference USA friendship for another one, joining the first SEC staff of former Houston coach Kevin Sumlin.
Snyder was Holtz's highest-paid assistant, earning $260,000 in 2011-12, but he'll likely make significantly more as an SEC defensive coordinator. His predecessor with the Aggies, Tim DeRuyter, made $550,000 last season before leaving to become head coach at Fresno State. Four of the SEC's defensive coordinators made $700,000 or more in 2011.
The move comes as the national coaches' convention wraps up in San Antonio, Texas; just last week, Holtz had been optimistic that his staff might return intact, while also aware the convention is a busy weekend for new coaches filling the openings on their staffs.
USF's defense took a step back in 2011 after losing three starters in the NFL Draft and putting another two in preseason camps. The Bulls gave up 351.3 yards per game, 35.5 more than they did in Snyder's first season, and allowed 22.7 points per game, up from 20.0 in 2010. Despite improvements on offense, the Bulls went from 8-5 in Holtz's first season to 5-7, ending the school's streak of six straight bowl appearances.
In several Big East games, USF was unable to hold leads in the fourth quarter, giving up touchdown drives in the closing minutes. The Bulls gave up 20 fourth-quarter points in a loss to Cincinnati, 14 in losses to Rutgers and Louisville and 10 in a season-ending loss to West Virginia that kept USF from being bowl-eligible.
Some of USF's best defensive efforts went unrewarded this past season, as Snyder's unit kept Connecticut and Miami out of the end zone, with the Huskies winning 16-10 on a defensive touchdown and Miami prevailing 6-3 on a last-second field goal.
If Holtz is to hire a coordinator he has firsthand experience with, the best option might be FSU linebackers coach Greg Hudson, who was his defensive coordinator at East Carolina from 2005-09 and was on his original staff at Connecticut from 1994-96. While Hudson isn't a coordinator in Tallahassee, he's in a high-profile position with a talented defense, and he might be too expensive for the Bulls, making $335,500 with the Seminoles in 2011.