Mike Tuiasosopo

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Will the new Oklahoma defensive line coach also have Arizona ties?

Former Arizona defensive line coach Joe Salave'a is a candidate for the same position at Oklahoma. (Photo: Anthony Gimino/Tucson Citizen)

Former Arizona defensive line coach Joe Salave’a is a candidate for the same position at Oklahoma. (Photo: Anthony Gimino/Tucson Citizen)

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he last two assistants hired at Oklahoma worked on Mike Stoops‘ staff at Arizona, and there’s a chance the Sooners’ new defensive line coach could have Wildcat ties as well.

Tim Kish and Bill Bedenbaugh, OU’s two most recent hires, both worked worked under Stoops at Arizona. Joe Salave’a, the Wildcats’ defensive line coach in 2010, has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Jackie Shipp, who was on Tuesday after 14 seasons on Bob Stoops’ staff.

Salave’a played at Arizona from 1994-97 before a nine-year NFL career with the Titans, Ravens, Chargers and Redskins. He spent last season as defensive line coach at Washington State under Mike Leach.

Salave’a began his coaching career under Dick Tomey, his coach while he was a player at Arizona, as defensive line coach at San Jose State in 2008-09. He joined Stoops’ Arizona staff in 2011 when Mike Tuiasosopo left to join Jon Embree’s staff at Colorado.

Tuiasosopo, who has been out of work since Embree’s staff was fired after a 1-11 season, has also been mentioned for the OU job. However, a source tells us that, at least right now, Tuiasosopo is not a serious candidate.

Two others that the source says are candidates to replace Shipp are former Sooner defensive lineman and current Tulsa defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux and Florida Gator defensive line coach Bryant Young.

Thibodeaux joined Bill Blakenship’s staff at Tulsa in 2012 after spending one season as an assistant at Dartmouth. He began his coaching career as a GA at Houston (2008-09) and was defensive line coach at Navarro (Tex.) Junior College in 2010.

Thibodeaux was a four-year letterman at Oklahoma from 2002-05, helping the Sooners win three Big 12 Championships and two trips to the national championship game.

Young, who was a star at Notre Dame, got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant with the Irish in 2009. He coached the defensive line at San Jose State in 2010, a position Salave’a held the year before, before joining Will Muschamp’s staff in 2011.

Young was the seventh pick of the 1994 NFL Draft and earned Rookie of the Year honors. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Young played his entire 14-year professional career with the San Francisco 49ers.

Shipp earned $270,000 as Oklahoma’s defensive line coach last season. Salave’a made $176,500 at Washington State and Young made $240,000 at Florida. Tulsa is a private school and does not release salary data for its assistant coaches.

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