FSU to Hire Mark Stoops as Defensive Coordinator

via assets.espn.go.com

Multiple sources including Jeff Cameron of 1270The Team WNLS AM Radio and NoleInsider.com are reporting that Florida State will name Mark Stoops as its defensive coordinator.  I am hearing that the contract will be for $485K per year, a figure that is in line with what other elite programs pay for a defensive coordinator.  Florida State will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. this Monday to announce Jimbo Fisher's contract, and Stoops should be introduced shortly after.

Stoops is 43 years old and is currently the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Wildcats.  He is the brother of OU's Bob Stoops and also UA's Mike Stoops.  In his three years at Arizona, he has led the 'Cats defense to 22nd (2009), 42nd (2008), and 28th ('07) ranked finishes.  (Source:  Opponent-Adjusted Defensive Efficiency).  This year, his defense sacked quarterbacks more frequently than any other in the Pac 10.

Before coming to Arizona, Stoops worked at Kansas State under noted defensive mind Jim Leavitt and then followed Leavitt to USF to be the Bull's defensive backs coach.  In 2001 he was named the defensive backs coach for the University of Miami where he produced such noted talents as Ed Reed, the late Sean Taylor, Antrelle Rolle, Phillip Buchanan and others.

At Arizona, he has been instrumental in the Wildcat's rebuilding effort, as Arizona has been the rare Pac 10 team to have an defense that is consistently better than its offense-- a rarity in a conference thought to be dominated by wide open offenses.  Stoops' familiarity with recruiting in Florida from his days at USF and Miami certainly played a factor in the hire.

Stoops runs a multiple 4-3 defense, and his philosophical influences include noted defensive minds Mike and Bob Stoops, Butch Davis, and Jim Leavitt.  However, what he did at UA was largely predicated on the type of athletes he could (or could not) get, and he will have much better talent to work with at Florida State with the 'Noles gunning for the top recruiting class in the country.   With greater talent comes greater schematic flexibility.  Stoops is regarded as a bright up-and-coming defensive mind.  Nick Saban reportedly tried to hire him as his defensive back's coach for the Dolphins.

Stoops doesn't need to produce an elite level defense in his first year.  Florida State returns 9 starters from the ACC's best offense in nearly a decade.  The 'Noles defense, however, ranked 96th.  Stoops' first goal should be returning that side of the ball to competency.

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