Just days after a report noted current outside linebackers coach Tim Tibesar was the likely candidate to replace Dave Aranda as Wisconsin's defensive coordinator, a new name has surfaced in the coaching search.
Per a series of tweets from FootballScoop.com, UW is considering former USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox for the same position. According to its source, the website also reported Wisconsin's due diligence on the veteran assistant was "extremely thorough" and the defensive staff met with Wilcox this past weekend.
Wilcox's name is a surprise in the Badgers' defensive coordinator search, mostly due to the lack of reports regarding who has interviewed or who could be the favorite to fill the big shoes left by Aranda's departure to LSU.
I know Chryst has brought Justin Wilcox in a number of times. Thought it would be done by now. Presumably real soon https://t.co/d0T05XFJFn— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 19, 2016
Source characterized Wisconsin’s diligence on Justin Wilcox as "extremely thorough". Just this weekend met w defensive staff. Yes/No soon...— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 19, 2016
...I would have to think— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 19, 2016
.@brobcubs Tibesar is very good and deserves an enhanced role; but Wilcox is being thoroughly vetted to become the new DC.— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 19, 2016
Wilcox led the Trojans' defense the last two seasons, but wasn't retained when head coach Clay Helton had the interim label taken off his job in December. Last season, USC finished 65th in the nation in total defense, allowing 400.8 yards per game (41st against the run, 93rd against the pass).
In 2014, the Trojans' defense ranked 78th in total defense, allowing 398 yards per game, but gave up 23.8 points per game -- good for No. 38 in the nation. The Trojans did break into the nation's top 20 in turnover margin, red-zone defense and third-down conversion defense, according to USC's official biography of Wilcox.
Before USC, Wilcox served at the same position for Washington from 2012-13 and Tennessee from 2010-2011, finding some success at both programs.
His popularity rose after his four seasons as defensive coordinator at Boise State from 2006-09. From 2008-09, the Broncos were among the best in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 12.6 points per game in 2008 -- good for third in the FBS -- while ranking No. 14 in the nation in 2009, allowing only 17.1 points per game.