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Duke assistant Ron Middleton headed to the NFL

Ron Middleton is the second assistant to leave Duke in the last two weeks. (Photo: Mark Dolejs/US PRESSWIRE)

Ron Middleton is the second assistant to leave Duke in the last two weeks. (Photo: Mark Dolejs/US PRESSWIRE)

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ongtime Duke assistant Ron Middleton is headed to the NFL.

Middleton, who was Duke’s associate head coach, tight ends coach and special teams coordinator, has accepted a position with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Middleton has spent the better part of the past 13 seasons alongside David Cutcliffe. He was on Cutcliffe’s staff at Ole Miss from 1999-2003. From 2004-06, he was on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff as tight ends coach where he met new Jags coach Gus Bradley. After one year at Alabama, he rejoined Cutcliffe at Duke.

“I will forever be grateful to Coach Cutcliffe for giving me the opportunity to work at Duke University,” Middleton said. “I’m proud of what we accomplished as a staff over the last five years both on and off the field, and I know the young men in the program will continue to prosper in everything they do.

“The decision to leave Duke was extremely difficult because of the quality young men in the football program and the leadership of the institution, and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of something much bigger than myself.”

Middleton is the second recent departure from Cutcliffe’s staff.

On Jan. 28, Duke wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Matt Lubick was hired by Mark Helfrich at Oregon as as passing-game coordinator. Lubick’s replacement has not been announced.

The Blue Devils are coming off their most successful season in 18 years. Duke went 6-7 and played in a bowl game for the first time since 1994, losing 48-34 to Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte.

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Walker officially leaving New Mexico State

This time it’s official.

Reports surfaced late Tuesday night that New Mexico State head coach DeWayne Walker was leaving to become the Jacksonville Jaguars as secondary coach.

On Wednesday, nothing was officially announced and Walker flew from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. to Las Cruces to meet with school officials. Some took that as Walker having second thoughts, but sources close to the situation indicate that Walker just wanted to tell them his intentions in person.

DeWayne Walker has left New Mexico State to become the Jaguars' secondary coach. (Photo: AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

DeWayne Walker is headed back to the NFL. (Photo: AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

“I really appreciate the opportunity that Dr. Boston and New Mexico State gave me to be a division I head football coach,” Walker said in a statement released through the school. “Unfortunately, I did not get the program as far as I would have liked from a wins and losses standpoint. But, we do have a better locker room, better kids and a better foundation for the program moving forward.

“There are a lot of people that I want to thank for their support and will be reaching out to those individuals in the coming days. They have helped me in moving the program forward. I am excited about starting a new chapter in my coaching career, as is my family. I wish New Mexico State great success in the future and wish everyone the best. Go Aggies!”

Walker, who compiled a 10-40 record in four seasons at New Mexico State including a 1-11 mark in 2012, had expressed concern over a lack of resources dedicated to the program.

Walker joins the staff of Gus Bradley, the former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator who took over the Jags last week. Walker and Bradley have a connection through Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

Bradley was Carroll’s defensive coordinator the last two seasons in Seattle before getting hired by the Jaguars. Walker was Carroll’s first hire once he became head coach at USC Trojans in 2001, and spent the three seasons before that under Carroll in a similar role with the New England Patriots.

NMSU has named offensive coordinator Doug Martin as interim head coach. Martin coached the Aggie offense during the 2011 season before accepting a similar position at Boston College last year. He returned to NMSU last week on a two-year contract after being let go at BC.

Martin was head coach of the Kent State Golden Flashes from 2004-2010, where he compiled a record of 29-53.

According to  Don Kloppenburg, a longtime college football coach who lives in Las Cruces, Martin came back to the school with the understanding that Walker’s departure could be in the works.

“He definitely anticipated it,” Kloppenburg said,

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The Coaching Wire: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013

Update 3:12 pm EST.

  • NCAA: The NCAA passed 25 of 26 proposed rule changes as part of its effort to streamline the Division I rulebook and move toward “a more flexible manual based on common sense.” The changes eliminate some rules (such as prohibitions on texting recruits and regulations of printed recruiting materials) and adds others (schools can pay for medical expenses and can’t scout opponents in person). The only proposal that did not pass was the universal start date of July 1 before a prospect’s junior year for off-campus contact, which was tabled for further discussion in April. The rule changes go into effect August 1, 2013. You can read the full list of rule changes here, and a Q&A with NCAA President Mark Emmert here.
  • Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents has approved contracts for incoming football coach Gary Andersen and his offensive and defensive coordinators. Andersen will be paid $10 million over five years. He’ll make $1.8 million in 2013, and then get $100,000 raises in each of the next four years. Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda both received a two-year deal worth $480,000 per year. That’s $215,000 more than their predecessors made last year.
  • Miami (Fla.): Hurricane offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has been hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars for the same position. Fisch has been offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Miami the past two seasons. He was the quarterbacks coach in Seattle in 2010, where he worked with new Jaguars coach Gus Bradley. His NFL experience includes stints with the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, and Minnesota Vikings.
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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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