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Jags hire Bradley; UF's Quinn to Seattle

The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as head coach.

General manager David Caldwell, who was hired last week, led the search.

“It was just a matter of time before Gus Bradley became a head coach in the NFL and the Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely fortunate that Gus will be on our sidelines for many years to come,” Caldwell said in a statement. “Gus more than met every criteria we insisted on from our new head coach, and his intangibles and leadership abilities are exceptional. Gus is who the Jaguars need now and in the future.”

Bradley spent the last four seasons in Seattle. His defense finished in the top 10 in points and yards the last two. This season, the Seahawks ranked first in the NFL in points allowed (15.3), fourth in yards (306.2), and tied for fourth in takeaways (31).

UF's Dan Quinn is headed to Seattle. (Photo: David Carr, Independent Florida Alligator)

UF’s Dan Quinn is headed to Seattle. (Photo: David Carr, Independent Florida Alligator)

Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will return to Seattle to replace Bradley as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator.

Quinn was the Seahawks’ defensive line coach prior to joining Will Muschamp’s staff. He just completed his second season for the Gators.

The Gators ranked fifth total defense (286.7 yards per game), fifth in scoring defense (14.5 points per game), and fourth in rushing defense (94.5 yards per game) this season.

In 2011, Quinn led a Gator defense that ranked eighth nationally in total defense (299.5 yards per game), seventh in passing defense (166.8 yards per game) and second in third-down defense (27.12 percent).

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Oregon: Ducks expected to promote Helfrich

With Signing Day a little more than two weeks away, Oregon is expected to move quickly in promoting offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich as head coach.

It was announced earlier today that Kelly would become the Philadelphia Eagles head coach.

The 39-year old Helfrich spent the past four seasons under Kelly’s tutelage. Though he did not have play-calling responsibility, Helfrich is considered Kelly’s right-hand man offensively and is intimately involved in game-planning.

Athletic director Rob Mullens has had plenty of time to think through a plan. This time last year, Kelly informed school officials that he was taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job. Within a few hours, Duck officials had decided to promote Helfrich before Kelly changed his mind.

Last year’s practice run could come now. According to a recent USA Today report, sources at Oregon say Helfrich’s hire could be made within 72 hours of Kelly’s departure.

Helfrich has strong ties to Oregon – both the state and the university.

A native of Coos Bay, Ore., Helfrich was a record-setting quarterback at Southern Oregon University, an NAIA school in Asland. After graduating from SOU in 1995, Helfrich served as Southern Oregon’s first-ever Graduate Assistant in 1996. He then moved to Austria to be player/coach for the Vienna Vikings in the winter of 1997. When Helfrich returned to the U.S., Mike Belottti offerred him the chance to became G.A. at Oregon (1997) and he jumped at the opportunity.

Following a season at Oregon, Helfrich would spend the next 11 seasons tutoring quarterbacks at the FBS (Division I) level.

At Oregon, Helfrich worked closely with then OU offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. When Koetter was hired as head coach at Boise State in 1998, Helfrich followed to coach quarterbacks and again when Koetter was hired at Arizona State in 2001.

In 2006, Helfrich was hired by Dan Hawkins at Colorado, and served as offensive coordinator there until he joined Kelly’s staff at Oregon in 2009.

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Eagles hire Chip Kelly

Just 10 days after telling Oregon officials that he would remain with the Ducks, Chip Kelly has been hired as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” Eagles’ Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh, energetic approach to our team.”

This story has had several twists and turns over the past few weeks.

In addition to Philadelphia, Kelly interviewed with the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills. He was once thought to be close to inking a deal with the Browns head coach, but that never materialized. Following a nine-hour interview with the Eagles brass, Kelly was then thought to be leaning there, but later told Oregon athletic director  Rob Mullens that he decided to remain with Oregon.

Kelly replaces Andy Reid, who was fired following a 4-12 season. He was set to make approximately $4 million at Oregon next season.

In four seasons at Oregon, the 49-year old Kelly compiled a 46-7 record. The Ducks were 12-1 this past season after winning the Fiesta Bowl, its fourth BCS game in as many years.

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Fort Lewis College: John L. Smith named head coach

Former Arkansas coach John L. Smith has been named head coach at Division II Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., according to the Durango Herald.

Smith was hired by Fort Lewis College athletic director Gary Hunter, who gave Smith his first head coaching job when he hired him at Idaho in 1989. He replaces Cesar Rivas-Sandoval who resigned following an 0-10 season. Rivas-Sandoval was 6-25 in three seasons with the Skyhawks.

Smith spent last season as interim head coach at Arkansas where he took over following the abrupt dismissal of Bobby Petrino. The Razorbacks had loft preseason hopes but stumbled to a 4-8 record.

Smith has served as head coach at at Arkansas, Michigan State, Louisville, Utah State, and Idaho. His career record is 136-93 and his teams have appeared in seven bowl games.

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Marshall: More staff shake up for Holliday, Herd

Marshall head coach Doc Holliday has already had a busy off-season, and the work is just beginning. Holliday, whose third season as head coach of the Thundering Herd ended with a very disappointing 5-7 record, will enter next season with at least six new staff members.

On Wednesday, offensive line coach Geep Wade left for a similar position at Middle Tennessee State. This comes a day after strength and conditioning coach Joe Miday accepted a position at Western Kentucky, leaving Holliday to search for the Herd’s fifth strength coach in four years.

Quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Tony Peterson started the musical chairs on Jan. 8 when he left to become Skip Holtz’s offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech. Peterson was an especially difficult loss not only because he was a record-setting quarterback at Marshall, but because his guidance helped sophomore quarterback Rakeem Cato explode on the scene and earn Conference USA MVP honors.

It appears that co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Bill Legg will move over to coach quarterbacks. Legg designed the Herd offense and has been the primary gameday play-caller.

Legg’s move to quarterbacks coach creates a vacancy at tight ends. Additionally, rumors abound that either running backs coach / recruiting coordinator JaJuan Seider and wide receivers coach Gerad Parker or both could be leaving.

On defense, Chuck Heater was brought in from Temple to replace defensive coordinator Chris Rippon, who was allowed to resign. Heater will be tasked with fixing a Marshall defense that ranked 119th out of 120 FBS teams in scoring defense (allowing 43.08 points allowed in 12 games), 101st in total defense (456.58 yards allowed per game), and 105th in rushing defense (203.08 yards allowed per game).

Last week, cornerbacks coach Lytrel Pollard was named to Todd Monken’s staff at Southern Miss. Heater will serve as the Herd’s cornerbacks coach.

There’s also a vacancy to fill at linebackers coach, and sources indicate that West Virginia assistant Steve Dunlap is the leading candidate. Holliday and Dunlap coached together at West Virginia from 1992-99 and again in 2008-09. Dunlap coached at Marshall in 2007.

Holliday enters the all-important fourth season as the Herd’s head coach with a 17-20 record. The next few months will no doubt be busy ones.

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