While Mark Stoops is Florida State's defensive boss for now , the guy that will most likely serve as his assistant defensive coordinator, though not in title, will be Greg Hudson, former defensive coordinator of ECU.
FSU fans, there is a lot to like about Hudson. He is taking over for Chuck Amato, who was not retained by Coach Fisher but was probably going to retire due to developing cancer. During Coach Amato's second stint in Florida's capital, it seemed as if he wasn't coaching the linebackers because from season to season, the linebackers got worse at making tackles and just performing their defensive duties.
The main criticism of Amato seemed to lie in the fact that the linebackers were not fundamentally sound. It has been said that in place of fundamentals such as taking good angles and having good tackling technique. Coach Amato told the linebackers to go make plays.
The result was lots of blown assignments by the linebackers and horrendous amounts of missed tackles. Not to be too critical of Amato; he did some good things as a coach, notably making football relevant again at his alma mater (NC State) and developing 11 first-round NFL draft picks, notably Mario Williams, Peter Boulware, Andre Wadsworth.
Now that I have said my peace about Coach Amato, let's move on to Coach Hudson.
Hudson was a linebacker himself in his playing days (good start), being named a Prep All-American linebacker at Moeller High School in Cincinnati. That success led him to signing with Notre Dame, and he was a two-year starter for the Fighting Irish. He graduated with his degree in sociology in 1990, then moved on to coach linebackers at the Unversity of Redlands (CA) while working on his master's degree. In 1993, he moved back to his alma mater and began coaching offensive line, where he tutored an Outland Trophy winner (Aaron Taylor) and helped lead the Fighting Irish to an 11-1 record and a No.2 final ranking.
He then followed Skip Holtz, who was Notre Dame's offensive coordinator at the time and Head Coach Lou Holtz's son, to Connecticut, where he coached the offensive line for the next three seasons. He made another career move to Cincinnati, where he then started coaching the defense and played a big role in Cincinnati rising to national prominence.
He then moved on to Minnesota, where he served as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator before finally getting his big break as defensive coordinator. He led the 2003 Minnesota defense to 35 rankings in many important defensive categories. He then reunited with Skip Holtz at ECU and subsequently became their defensive coordinator.
His time at ECU was very successful, as ECU consistently had the top defense in their conference, which includes teams like Houston, Tulsa, and SMU, which have some of the nation's most proficient offenses. His ECU defenses have consistently held the top spots in C-USA in areas of total defense, scoring defense, and run defense. Coach Hudson's defenses at both Minnesota and ECU both forced lots of turnovers during his tenure at both schools.
Coach Hudson will be the antithesis of Coach Amato in terms of coaching. He preaches the good fundamentals of tackling and good angles, unlike Amato, which I believe will be the first thing he works on with the linebackers. His focus on fundamentals has had proven results in the aforementioned areas and in the area of "making plays", as Coach Amato emphasized. He will also push the linebackers harder than they have ever been pushed at FSU. He won't have room for lazy guys in his linebacking corps.
Coach Hudson will have his work cut out for him when he comes to FSU, but he is also working with talent that he did not have at ECU. Many of the guys Hudson will be working with were rated in the Rivals 100 or ESPNU 150. I believe if the boys buy into his philosophy of being fundamentally sound, then the good results might come quicker than expected. Florida State has not had a good linebacker's coach since Kevin Steele left.
Here's to Greg Hudson being the next great linebacker's coach. Next time, I will go over on the offensive side of the ball and preview the new running backs coach, Coach Gran.
Until next time, and Fear the Spear!!!