Defensive Coordinator Search Update, Part Two: The Researchening

Who's Out: William Inge is off the board, as he has become the defensive line coach of the Buffalo Bills. Also, shockingly, Juan Castillo might still have his old job with the Eagles; Steve Spagnuolo, long considered the favorite for the job should it be available, has been named the defensive coordinator in New Orleans, and Andy Reid has made no move to push Castillo out despite the fact that Philadelphia hasn't played a game in three weeks.

Who's In: The rumors are flying now. Last week's boomlet was for former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio. Obviously, he'd be a great selection: Former NFL head coach, former NFL linebacker, etc. But the connection that brought the rumor to fruition -- that Del Rio is a former Ravens assistant, just like Ferentz -- is tenuous at best. JDR joined the Ravens staff in 1999, the season after Ferentz left and his boss, Ted Marchibroda, was fired. Del Rio coached under Brian Billick, who has no connection to either Ferentz or his usual touchstones from the Belichick coaching tree. Also, Jack's son Luke is a top quarterback prospect, and rumor is that Jack wants to coach where his son is playing, and his son isn't playing at Iowa. This is a non-starter.

Slightly more intriguing has been rumors surrounding San Francisco 49ers assistant and former South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt. He's got ties to both Ferentz and Iowa: Prior to building USF from scratch, Leavitt was the protypical Hayden Fry assistant, acting as a graduate assistant in 1989 (Ferentz's last year with Fry) before spending six seasons as Bill Snyder's linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at Kansas State. He's got a track record of unparalleled success at two programs and a year in the pros as a cherry on top. The problem, of course, is his demeanor; if Mike Stoops's sideline tantrums made him a non-starter, Leavitt would get laughed out of the room. The man was fired from the program he created for his temper, after all. It's probably too much baggage for Ferentz to handle.

Where We Stand: No longer are there any questions surrounding the placement of the job opening; that ship sailed late last week. Either this process is dragging on for a logical reason -- we're looking at someone who was, until this week, still coaching -- or it's dragging on because that's just how Ferentz operates. At first, the general train of thought was that, with each passing day, it became less likely Phil Parker was getting promoted to defensive coordinator. After all, why wait to pull the trigger on an internal promotion? Now that we're more than a month removed from Norm Parker's retirement announcement, the consensus has shifted. Ferentz might have made a move toward one or two candidates outside the program and, with his advances rebuffed, will now turn back to his longtime assistant to take the reins. This, of course, would be awful; Phil knows as well as anyone that, if the plan all along was to promote him to the spot, it would have been done long ago. Admitting that your final selection wasn't your top pick for the job puts him, and the program, on the wrong foot from the very beginning.

As for timing, Ferentz has spent the last week on the road recruiting, and will likely spend most of the next two weeks doing the same (a suspicious flight to Pennsylvania last week looked like it could be it, and ended up being an in-home visit for Greg Garmon). It looks like he's in Iowa City for the next couple of days, though. If there isn't an announcement early next week, there likely won't be one until after Signing Day. And that announcement will almost certainly be Tom Bradley.

The Horse Race:
Phil Parker 2-1
Tom Bradley 2-1
Darrell Wilson 12-1
Jim Leavitt 50-1
Jack Del Rio 100-1
Alberto Del Rio 100-1
Scottie Hazelton 100-1
Ron Aiken SCR (New Contract)
William Inge SCR (NFL job)
Larry Johnson Sr. SCR (Stayed w/ PSU)
Rob Vanderlinden SCR (Stayed w/ PSU)
Rick Kaczenski SCR (Nebraska)
Mike Stoops SCR (Oklahoma)

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