Nov 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker during the third quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
All of the previous candidates on this list have three things in common: 1) All of them have experience coaching in the SEC. 2) All of them were able to recruit in the SEC. And 3) all of them were on last year’s coaching search list.
The third one is where Mel Tucker looks a little different. He was nowhere near the radar of head coach Les Miles during last year’s search, and definitely would be a “dark horse” candidate.
As it is, maybe he should have been on Miles’ radar last year anyway.
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Coach Tucker was the Chicago Bears defensive coordinator last year, having previously served in the same capacity for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns.
Long-time NFL assistants don’t often make the jump into the college ranks — particularly well-regarded coordinators who are possible head coaching material.
Coach Tucker does have some college experience though, including a short stay in LSU. He was on Nick Saban’s first coaching staff at LSU in 2000, and was one of the coaches Saban brought with him from Michigan State.
Tucker is currently at Alabama, he was hired there to coach the secondary after Chicago cleaned house after the 2014 season.
When you look at the fact that he has coached in Baton Rouge before, has a successful track record in both the SEC and the NFL (where he was a defensive coordinator for eight seasons and served as interim head coach for Jacksonville), and that a coordinator position would be a promotion at this point; Tucker could be the top available candidate.
Something else to consider with Tucker: a stint as defensive coordinator could be an audition for a future head coaching position in Baton Rouge…….