Chuck Cook -US PRESSWIRE
Tomahawk Nation continues its profile of potential defensive coordinator candidates.
And now we come upon a bigger name. Ellis Johnson.
Johnson has a great reputation for producing excellent defenses. He was Alabama's defensive coordinator for the Tide's run from 1997-2000, kept Mississippi State afloat from 2004 to 2007 despite a complete lack of offense, and had a great four year run at South Carolina from 2008 to 2011.
In 2007, Johnson had the 17th-rated defense, in 2008? 19th, in 2009? 26th, in 2010? 9th, in 2011? 19th. All are at or above talent level.
Then came Johnson's break as a head coach: Southern Miss. It was a colossal failure, as Johnson went 0-12 in his first year, after UNC's Larry Fedora had guided the Golden Eagles to a 12-win year in 2011.
Some of that is on Johnson, and some of it is on Southern Miss and the problems that bubbled below the surface and from which Fedora was smart to flee.
Johnson will be 61 by Christmas. He is an excellent coach of defense, and isn't going to be getting a major head coaching job even if he had a great two-year run at Florida State.
And because of that, money is going to be more important to Johnson than it might be some defensive coordinators. Auburn, Tennessee and Arkansas could pay Johnson about 50-percent more than Florida State could. For that reason, don't expect Johnson to commit to Florida State before those are filled.
Johnson is not a terrible recruiter, but at (to be) 61, he's not going to be an ace, either.
About Johnson's scheme? He runs a 4-down scheme that is more 4-2-5 than 4-3. It's very multiple, both in coverage and alignment. Johnson is fairly aggressive. I won't reinvent the wheel here, so read these three pieces in order.