Florida State defensive coordinator search candidates: Greg Hudson

I'm addressing Hudson's candidacy first because he is on staff and asked about quite frequently.

Florida State linebackers coach Greg Hudson came to Florida State with a lot of promise. The defenses he produced at East Carolina were among the best in Conference USA, and played at a level far greater than they should have, based on the level of recruited talent.

So it was with much excitement that Hudson arrived in Tallahassee, to replace Florida State's departed linebackers coach Chuck Amato, whose unit was embarrassingly bad and undisciplined.

"Hudson is considered a very good defensive coach and has produced multiple all-conference players in his time at ECU. He will join Florida State's staff after the January 1st bowl game.

Hudson comes to FSU following a 5 year stint at East Carolina, where his defenses are known for their physicality, toughness, and consistency in forcing turnovers. Prior to working at ECU, Hudson coached at Minnesota (2001-2004), Cincinnati (1997-2000), and UConn (1994-1996). He was also a graduate assistant for Notre Dame in 1993. He coached with Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher at Cincinnati.

Hudson's defenses have been instrumental in carrying East Carolina to back-to-back Conference USA Championships, defeating prolific offenses this year in Houston and last year's Tulsa attack. The Pirates held Houston to 5.9 yards per play, and Tulsa to 4.1. Those performances were by far the worst of the year for those two teams, courtesy Hudson's defense."

Most everyone, acknowledging that Mark Stoops would leave after a short tenure in Tallahassee, expected Hudson to be their heir apparent.

But somewhere along the way, everything veered off course. Hudson's linebackers haven't been bad, but they have certainly underachieved relative to size and athleticism. The linebackers under his tutelage have lagged far behind the play of the secondary and the defensive line units. At times, the play of Hudson's linebackers has been painful to watch.

This year, Florida State moved Christian Jones from strong-side linebacker to the weak-side spot. It's a move that a player like Jones probably should have been able to make. Jones wasn't terrible, but he didn't make many plays, either. And he was far less effective at WILL than he was at SAM. To some extent, Jones' failure to recognize plays developing before they are fully executed is on the coaching staff. Technique has not been especially good, either.

The failure to produce consistently excellent linebacker play has been a bitter pill to swallow.

And if a coordinator candidate isn't an excellent coach, he must be a tremendous recruiter. Hudson is not that. At all. Recruiting requires equal parts persistence, in terms of following up on recruiting leads, and tact, in figuring out the right angle to pitch to a recruit and his parents. During Hudson's three years, neither of those aspects of recruiting have been mastered.

Florida State's defensive coordinator job is one of the best in all of college football. It pays well ($600K), and offers the opportunity to coach future NFL athletes against what is often fairly average competition in the ACC. That means the numbers put up are going to be ridiculous (see consecutive top-five defenses under Stoops). And with numbers like that, it's really easy to use the FSU DC job as a launching pad for a head coaching position.

Given the desirability of the position, it would be a big mistake on Jimbo Fisher's part to promote Greg Hudson. Not because he couldn't do the job (certainly there is a chance that he could), but because of the large number of candidates with far better credentials. And, according to my sources, it is extremely unlikely to happen.

We will continue to review candidates for the Florida State defensive coordinator position throughout the process.

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