West Virginia Will Hire Jets Linebacker Coach Mike Smith, According To Report

West Virginia is still looking for a defensive coordinator after Oklahoma's Brent Venables withdrew his name from consideration.

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West Virginia To Hire Jets LB Coach Mike Smith

The West Virginia Mountaineers are still looking for a defensive coordinator, but they've pulled off what might be a coup with one of their position coaches. Per Bruce Feldman, West Virginia has hired New York Jets outside linebackers coach Mike Smith as their linebackers coach.

Smith is just 30-years-old and played linebacker at Texas Tech while West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen was employed at that university. Interestingly enough, he had just accepted a promotion with the Jets. Smith was just an intern with the Jets this past season, but was promoted to outside linebackers coach to prevent him from taking the linebackers coach job at Washington State with his former coach Mike Leach. Said Washington State blog CougCenter, about that failed hire:

New York Jets coaching intern Mike Smith was all set to take the linebackers coach job at Washington State, but will not be coming to Pullman. As the NFL season drew to a close for the Jets, the team made him an offer that will keep him in New York. Instead of coaching the linebackers in Pullman, he'll be coaching the outside linebackers for the Jets. Smith is a rising star and I'd wondered if the Jets would try to keep him around.

All indications are that this is a nice get for West Virginia and Holgorsen. Now they just need a defensive coordinator to go along with Smith.

For more on the Mountaineers, check out West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket.


Brent Venables No Longer West Virginia Coordinator Candidate, According To Report

Oklahoma Sooners defensive coordinator Brent Venables is no longer interested in taking over the West Virginia Mountaineers defense, according to Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler. Venables was presumed to be WVU's top target after losing Jeff Casteel to the Arizona Wildcats, with one theory having Venables being the odd man out of a OU coaching staff that now includes Mike Stoops, formerly of the ... Arizona Wildcats!

Dave Sittler@DaveSittler Source: Venables has withdrawn from consideration at West Virginia.

He's also reportedly in the mix with the Clemson Tigers, though one has to wonder just how much they can afford to spend with Chad Morris getting ace coordinator money and Kevin Steele still on the payroll for one more year.

Venables played for and began his coaching career with the Kansas St. Wildcats. He's been at Oklahoma since 1999, long enough for our own Bill Connelly to call him "an honorary Stoops brother."

For more on the parties involved, visit Oklahoma blog Crimson and Cream Machine and West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket, plus Clemson blog Shakin' the Southland.


Will Brent Venables Leave Oklahoma For West Virginia Or Clemson?

Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables has found himself on a suddenly crowded coaching staff with the addition of Mike Stoops, head coach Bob Stoops' brother.


Jeff Casteel Reunited With Rich Rodriguez, Named Arizona's Defensive Coordinator

There were reports that West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel was going to reunite with his former boss, the now head coach of the Arizona Wildcats Rich Rodriquez. The report would seemingly be true given the fact that Casteel now has a bio page on the Wildcats official website. Interestingly enough, this line in his bio is from the future:

Veteran defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel was appointed to take over Arizona's defense on Jan. 11. He'll also coach linebackers in the second level of UA's scheme.

While Casteel has a bio on the team's website, there has not been an announcement or confirmation from the school. In fact West Virginia spokesperson Mike Montero would not confirm that Casteel had already quit to take the Arizona position. "As far as I know, he hasn't taken a job anywhere," Montoro told the Arizona Daily Star. "I haven't been told anything. As far as I know, he's still our defensive coordinator."

Casteel had worked at West Virginia since the 2001 season, starting as the defensive line coach and taking over as the defensive coordinator in 2003. Casteel is known for using his 3-3-5 defensive scheme, which utilizes three down lineman and at least five defensive backs.

It is expected that Arizona will make a formal announcement "at the end of the day" according to the Arizona Daily Star.

For more updates on Rich Rod's Cats, keep a close eye on Wildcats blog Arizona Desert Swarm and SB Nation Arizona. Here's our 2011 College Football Coaching Carousel Tracker.


Jeff Casteel Close To Becoming Arizona Defensive Coordinator, According To Report

Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez has hired a majority of his coaching staff for the offensive side of the football, but the search to find a defensive coordinator and defensive staff has taken longer than expected. That search might be over if the reports are true that West Virginia Mountaineers defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel will join RichRod's staff within the next 48 hours.

Casteel is expected to bring at least one Mountaineers assistant with him to Tucson: The Wildcats must hire two more defensive assistants, and special teams and tight ends coaches.

Casteel has been with WVU since 2001 and was Rodriguez's DC while there. When RichRod left to take the Michigan job, Casteel originally followed him but decided to stay at West Virginia shortly thereafter.

Casteel's defense have routinely ranked among the best nationally in scoring defense and turnover margin. He is rumored to be looking for a change of scenery from Dana Holgersen's offense-first mindset, which was on full display in the Orange Bowl.

For more updates on Rich Rod's Cats, keep a close eye on Wildcats blog Arizona Desert Swarm and SB Nation Arizona. Here's our 2011 College Football Coaching Carousel Tracker.

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