Who next? Bulls may target ECU's Hudson
With USF getting turned down by Illinois assistant Dan Disch on Wednesday, where will Bulls coach Jim Leavitt turn next as he searches for a new defensive coordinator?
Here's an interested party that could be next on USF's list: East Carolina defensive coordinator Greg Hudson, who helped the Pirates to a Conference USA championship and upsets of nationally ranked Virginia Tech and West Virginia teams.
Hudson, 42, has no direct ties with Leavitt and his staff, but has experience with current Big East schools, having coached at Cincinnati as linebackers coach from 1997-2000 and at Connecticut as offensive line coach from 1994-96 under current ECU coach Skip Holtz. Hudson, a Cincinnati native and Notre Dame graduate who played two seasons as a linebacker for the Fighting Irish in 1986-87, also coached at Minnesota from 2001-04, including two seasons as defensive coordinator. Hudson could not be reached for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
Hudson's aggressive, blitzing defense shut down West Virginia's spread offense in a 24-3 upset last season, and held ACC champion Virginia Tech to 243 yards in a 27-22 upset. In East Carolina's win against Tulsa -- whose offense ranked No. 1 nationally in yards and No. 2 in points -- in the C-USA championship game, the Pirates forced seven turnovers and returned an interception for a touchdown. East Carolina led C-USA in total defense (333 yards per game) and scoring defense, allowing 21.1 points per game. Rivals.com honored him as its C-USA Defensive Coordinator of the Year.
Much like Disch and Illinois coach Ron Zook, Hudson has a close relationship with Holtz, which could make it challenging for USF to lure him away. Hudson has also been mentioned as a possible successor at Florida State to defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews, because Hudson coached with FSU's Jimbo Fisher when they both were at Cincinnati a decade ago.
Leavitt has interviewed two other candidates for defensive coordinator in Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler and former Cincinnati defensive coordinator Joe Tresey, and it's unclear whether those two are still options for USF. Leavitt has also interviewed former Rutgers assistant Chris Demarest as a candidate for the Bulls' defensive backs job. Stay tuned ...