After the recent news that Inoke Breckterfield accepted a position on Clark Lea’s staff as the defensive line coach at Vanderbilt, the Wisconsin Badgers are now in need of a new assistant to round out the defensive staff.
In addition to his responsibilities as the defensive line coach, Breckterfield had a hand in recruiting his position regionally out west, Hawaii and in Florida.
Paul Chryst will need to fill the vacancy with a coach that can continue to develop the position at a high level, but also find someone who can help the staff out on the recruiting trail. Per usual, Wisconsin should have plenty of strong options to choose from this off-season.
Here are a list of potential candidates that could make sense as the new defensive line coach in 2021:
Let’s be honest, Wisconsin has an absurdly large number of staff members that are former alumni. Jim Leonhard, Joe Rudolph, Mickey Turner, Paul Chryst, Jon Budmayr, Taylor Mehlhaff, Ross Kolodziej, the list goes on of former Badgers that have a role on the staff.
One name that would fit that mold would be Terrance Jamison. A reserve defensive lineman for Wisconsin from 2005 to 2009, Jamison was on the team while Paul Chryst was offensive coordinator and his career coincided with tight ends coach Mickey Turners as well.
Jamison started his collegiate coaching career with the Badgers as a quality control assistant and graduate assistant before moving on to coach the defensive line at Florida Atlantic, Texas Tech, Air Force and most recently he spent last season at Purdue in the same role.
While Jamison played in the 4-3 while at Wisconsin, he has experience coaching multiple different fronts, something that would jive nicely with defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard.
One would have to assume that Jamison might also be a candidate for a role on Bret Beliema’s staff at Illinois, but he is a former Badger that could fit in nicely at Wisconsin if Paul Chryst and Jim Leonhard opt to pursue him.
This is a longshot, but Charlie Partridge is a former Wisconsin assistant that has ties to Paul Chryst. Currently listed as the assistant head coach and defensive line coach at Pittsburgh, he has a wealth of experience that would make him an absolute home run hire.
Partridge was credited with the development of J.J. Watt while he was at Wisconsin under Bret Beliema, and he is a former head coach at Florida Atlantic.
I have a hard time seeing Wisconsin offering enough money to bring Partridge over, especially considering he is the assistant head coach under Pat Narduzzi at Pitt, but you never know.
Another familiar face for those who follow Wisconsin football, coach Chad was the defensive line coach at UW from 2013 to 2014 under Gary Andersen.
Similar to Inoke Breckterfield, Kauha’a’aha’a has connections to Hawaii and is known as a fairly good recruiter out west.
The current defensive line coach at UNLV, he has bounced around a decent amount with coaching stints at Utah State, Utah, Oregon State, Boise State, and USC in addition to Wisconsin, but he has gone on record stating how much he loved his time in Madison, and he has experience coaching a 3-4 front.
While there might be some reluctance on the part of Barry Alvarez and Paul Chryst due to the Andersen effect, he is an experienced option that would probably jump at the opportunity.
Another alumnus, Warren Herring would be the youngest option listed.
After playing for the Badgers from 2011 to 2014, Herring has since returned to Madison as a recruiting assistant for Paul Chryst the past two seasons.
Herring has earned positive praise for his work in the recruiting department, and has played in the 3-4 defensive while under Dave Aranda.
Herring would be a much cheaper alternative, and has less experience that some of the other options, but he is a known commodity for Paul Chryst, and could be a solid hire for recruiting purposes.
Insert NFL assistant “X” here
While former Badgers are littered all over the current staff for Wisconsin, the recent trend for Paul Chryst has been to hire from the NFL.
After Tim Tibesar left to become the defensive coordinator at Oregon State in 2018, Chryst went on to hire Bobby April who was a former linebackers coach with the Buffalo Bills.
Just last season, when Ted Gilmore left for a hefty raise at Michigan State, Chryst hired Alvis Whitted who was the former wide receivers coach for the Green Bay Packers the season prior.
Both of those hires have turned out well for the Badgers thus far, and given the fact that Jim Leonhard will probably have a fair amount of say in who is brought in, and Leonhard has ties to the NFL, a coach shifting down (or back) to the college ranks could make a ton of sense.
Each year there is a lot of shuffling in the NFL ranks, and this off-season should be no different. Don’t be surprised if Breckterfield’s replacement once again comes from the NFL coaching carousel.