One of the nation’s most respected defensive coordinators may be staying in Starkville for a few more years. Bob Shoop and Mississippi State have reportedly reached an agreement on a two-year contract extension that will run through the 2020 season, according to multiple reports Monday afternoon. Defensive line coach Brian Baker has also been signed to a two-year extension, providing some stability on the defensive side of the coaching staff at Mississippi State.
247 Sports was among the first to report the news of the contract extension, and Bruce Feldman of The Athletic followed up with a similar report via Twitter.
Shoop has been a mainstay within the SEC for a while now. After three seasons at Vanderbilt with former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, Shoop left for two seasons at Penn State when Franklin was hired by the Nittany Lions in 2014. Shoop returned to the SEC to be the defensive coordinator at Tennessee under former Vols head coach Butch Jones, but Shoop came to Mississippi State to be a part of the staff assembled by Joe Moorhead in 2018.
Mississippi State was the top-ranked defense for the 2018 season in allowing 263.1 yards per game and an average of just 4.13 yards per play. The Bulldogs were one of two teams to hold opponents to fewer than 3,500 yards of offense (3,420 yards) and the only team playing at least 12 games to do so (Southern Mississippi played just 11 games and allowed 3,062 yards of offense).
There will be some change son the Mississippi State coaching staff, however. Al.com reports Alabama is expected to sign running backs coach Charles Huff away from Mississippi State. Huff followed Moorhead to Mississippi State from Penn State.
Penn State filed a case against former defensive coordinator Bob Shoop in an effort to collect buyout money the university claims is owed by Shoop. As should have been expected when Shoop stood by his decision not to pay Penn State back any contract money, Shoop has a different story to tell. He says he was fired.
In a counterclaim filed against his former employer, the Tennessee defensive coordinator says his working conditions became “intolerable” after being forced to sign an employment contract. After experiencing what Shoop claimed to be “a hostile, negative work environment,” Shoop claims his contract was effectively forced to leave his job as Penn State’s defensive coordinator.
Welp. Somebody’s not being 100 percent accurate in their claims here. We could be heading to a settlement when all is said and done.
The case is currently in the hands of a U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania. Penn State is seeking close to $900,000 from Shoop on the claim Shoop owes the school money from his contract because he was not named a head coach at another program within one year of leaving Penn State.
Just days after Tennessee was ambushed in Knoxville by mighty Alabama, Vols defensive coordinator Bob Shoop provided some humor at a Knoxville QB Club meeting. The target? The officials that called the 49-10 Alabama-Tennessee game on Saturday.
“I hear they honor officials of the week in Alabama, too,” Shoop joked. “They were the guys that called our game on Saturday.”
Tennessee was called for just one penalty in the game, for 10 yards. Alabama was flagged five times for 38 yards.
“We’re disappointed, but we’re not discouraged,” Shoop also said in reaction to Tennessee’s sudden two-game losing streak. Tennessee lost the week prior at Texas A&M.
At 2-2 in SEC play, the Vols now trail rival Florida, with the Gators standing at 3-1 in conference play. The lone Florida loss, of course, came against Tennessee, which means the Vols own a head-to-head tiebreaker that could end up determining who wins the SEC East and makes the trip to Atlanta to play in the SEC Championship Game, likely to meet Alabama (Alabama faces Texas A&M this week for first-place in the SEC West).
A day after losing defensive coordinator Bob Shoop to Tennessee, Penn State head coach James Franklin has found his new defensive coordinator in Happy Valley, and he did not have to look very far. Penn State has announced the promotion of Brent Pry to the defensive coordinator role after previously serving as a co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
“Brent has had a dramatic impact on our defense and our team for the last five years and he is very deserving of this opportunity to move into the defensive coordinator position,” Franklin said, referring to Pry’s time on Franklin’s staff at Vanderbilt in addition to the past two years at Penn State. “Brent’s promotion will help make this a smooth transition and allow us to continue to build one of the top defenses in the country.”
Pry is a native Pennsylvanian and was expected to be a top candidate for the defensive coordinator job as soon as Shoop leaving for Tennessee became likely. Having already worked with Penn State’s defense gives the Nittany Lions a pretty smooth transition and allows for some stability with the current team and in recruiting.
Franklin made a couple of other adjustments to the coaching staff as well. Defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith will continue holding those titles in addition to his newly promoted position as assistant head coach. Defensive line coach Sean Spencer will now be serving as the running game coordinator.
The search for LSU’s next defensive coordinator continues in Baton Rouge, and it may have taken an interesting turn recently into enemy territory. One potential candidate LSU has reportedly had contact with is Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has also been contacted about the job vacancy as well.
Let’s start with the NFL option, which may be the more likely of the two. Tucker is not likely to remain with the Bears amid a season of change in the front office and the pressure rising to elevate the Bears to a team worthy of competing with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions in 2015. The Bears finished the 2014 NFL season ranked 30th in total defense in the league, so a change at defensive coordinator is expected to happen. Tucker has been an assistant coach at LSU before, coaching the defensive backs at LSU in 2000 before moving to Ohio State for a few seasons en route to the NFL. Tucker has been in the NFL since 2005 with stops in Cleveland, Jacksonville and, most recently, Chicago. If he is on the market, he could remain in the NFL in some capacity, but his pending free agency is something that has caught LSU’s eyes and it could be a chance to regroup as a defensive coordinator.
Now, what about Smart?
Of the two names recently reported to be connected to the job search by The Advocate, Smart is certainly the one that should raise more eyebrows. Smart is a seasoned defensive coordinator at Alabama, which makes moving to LSU nothing more than a lateral move at best, unless the Tigers happen to cut a nicer paycheck. LSU will not be afraid to do that, although Smart is already earning $1.35 million per season as a member of Nick Saban‘s coaching staff. Smart’s salary was just slightly more than what LSU’s previous defensive coordinator, John Chavis, was earning. Smart is also a previous LSU assistant, coaching the defensive backs in 2004 in his one season at LSU.
Odds are probably not very good LSU can manage to lure Smart away from Alabama, although it would be a huge coaching change within the SEC, and more specifically the SEC West. But LSU has the resources to go out and be connected to any number of good, quality options. Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop was previously considered a popular target for LSU, but Shoop confirmed last week he is sticking with James Franklin at Penn State.
LSU also has former Florida and Illinois head coach Ron Zook on the radar.