Fear The Spear: Previewing Florida State's New Defensive Coordinator

Matthew ChampionCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2010

Hello Florida State fans!!! All the change FSU has undergone in the past couple of months has really excited me about the future of FSU football. One of these changes was the hiring of several top-flight assistants from BCS schools who will surely help FSU reach the zenith of where we were during the '90s. This is the first of many articles previewing the new coaches at Florida State. So without further ado, here is the new defensive coordinator of FSU, Mark Stoops.

Coach Stoops comes to Florida State from Arizona, where he has served as the defensive coordinator for his brother, Mike. The Stoops brothers have long established themselves as defensive gurus. The first to make a big name for himself was Bob Stoops, who had successful runs as the defensive coordinator of both Kansas State and Florida and then became the coach of the Oklahoma Sooners when he happened to beat FSU for the 2000 national championship. Younger brother Mike served as Bob's defensive coordinator at Oklahoma for a while and soon landed himself a head coaching job with the Arizona Wildcats. He has also turned that program around to a point this year where they were contending for a Rose Bowl Berth.

So what about Mark? After graduating from the University of Iowa, he worked as a grad assistant for the legendary Hayden Fry. After several assistant coaching stops at an Ohio high school, USF, Wyoming, and Houston, he soon landed at the "U" as its secondary coach. From 2001-2003, he coached arguably some of the best defensive backs in Ed Reed, Mike Rumph, Phillip Buchanon, and Sean Taylor. All of these guys went on to become first-round NFL draft picks. Also during that period, Miami was in the top 10 in both pass and pass efficiency defense, turnover margin, and scoring defense, among other areas.

After the 2003 season, Mark was hired on as his brother's defensive coordinator. From there the success continued, as he developed more players who went on to play in the NFL in Michael Johnson, Darrell Brooks, Wilrey Fontenot, and Antoine Cason, who went on to win the Jim Thorpe award for the nation's top defensive back and became a first-round NFL draft selection. In the 2008 season, he also coached Arizona to rankings of 14th nationally in pass efficiency defense, 23rd in passing yards allowed (182 ypg), and No. 24 in total defense in 2008.

So it goes without saying that Coach Stoops knows how to coach defensive backs and make them play to their potential. He also knows how to coach a statistically good defense that can force a lot of turnovers. I can only imagine what he will be able to do with the elite talent Florida State has recruited over the past couple of years. My prediction is that he will be able to improve FSU's defense dramatically from where it was last year, especially pass defense. He, along with Greg Hudson, D.J. Eliot, and Odell Haggins, will demand that the players play tough, physical, and smart. Those things seemed to be lacking for FSU's defense last fall, which contributed to our 7-6 record despite the offense being one of the best in the country.

Florida State was very lucky to get Coach Stoops from Arizona. While Internet rumors swirled that we would land Kirby Smart from Alabama due to his time as an FSU grad. assistant, I for one am very happy we got Mark Stoops. The base scheme he runs will be very similar to what FSU runs, only he runs more zone coverage than Mickey Andrews, and there is a possibility we could see a multitude of formations such as 3-4, 4-2-5, and the like. All in all, this is a home run hire for Jimbo Fisher, who is looking to return FSU to national prominence. Next time I will look at essentially the other defensive coordinator on our new staff, Greg Hudson, who will serve as linebackers coach and executive coach.

This is my first article, so I hope everyone will love and read it!!! Please give me some feedback as to how I can improve. It would be really appreciated.