First Defensive Coordinator Candidate Emerges For Cincinnati Bearcats

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

That Tommy Tuberville relieved Fred Tate and Art Kaufman of their defensive duties is the major subplot for the early off season. It was perhaps even more surprising that the reasoning behind the move had more to do with recruiting than on field performance.

Which makes the first candidate to emerge for Kaufman's departed post seem very strange indeed. Its former UConn defensive line coach and defensive coordinator Hank Hughes.

A source tells CoachingSearch that former UConn defensive coordinator / defensive line coach Hank Hughes has interviewed for the defensive coordinator job at Cincinnati.

For a guy who wants more recruiting from his defensive coordinator, and more mid western recruiting at that Hughes would be an odd choice. While he does have a stop at Cincinnati under his belt* he has been in Storrs since 2001, two different stints as defensive coordinator, and a stretch as the defensive line coach.

On the field Hughes would be fine, UConn generally fielded competent defenses while he was there, but Don Brown was the DC during the Huskies peak under Randy Edsall. Hughes primarily recruited Pennsylvania for the Huskies, though he was instrumental in getting Marquise Vann to Storrs from Fairfield so he does have some connections in the area. But if the priorities for the job are 1) be a dynamic recruiter 2) be a competent on field coach (and rumors are that those are precisely the points of emphasis for Tuberville) then Hughes would be an odd choice.

Then there are the Gene Chizik rumors / wild speculation, almost all of them emanating from Cincinnati fans rather than informed sources. Chizik was an early name for the Louisville defensive coordinator job. But with that going to Kevin Steele (you may know him from his fine work with Clemson) he is obviously going to the Derby City. He could very well be going to UAB, who now has an open head coaching job thanks to Louisville hiring UAB head coach Garrick McGee as its offensive coordinator. That's a bad job, but it is a head coaching job, and would certainly pay more than the Bearcats theoretically would for a coordinator.

As of this moment Hughes is the only candidate who has interviewed, or at least the only one that is public. He could very well be the hire, or simply the first of several to interview. We won't know which for a while. Tubs will surely want to have his replacements in place when recruiting goes live again on the 15th of January.

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