Closer Look at Five D-Line Possibilities for Arkansas’ Coaching Staff

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By Otis Kirk

Arkansas coach Chad Morris now has an opening on his defensive football staff. 

John Scott Jr., who coached the defensive tackles in 2018, has left to take a job at South Carolina which is much closer to his home. Scott was one of two holdovers from Bret Bielema’s final staff. He and Barry Lunney Jr. were the on-field assistants retained by Morris. 

Scott, who made $340,000 at Arkansas, will get a raise with the Gamecocks. In 2017, Scott coached the entire defensive line for Bielema. 

The question now remains who will replace Scott? Here’s a closer look at five possibilities all who have ties to Morris, John Chavis or Arkansas. In some cases, they have ties to more than one of that group.

Brick Haley, Missouri

Haley is a talented defensive line coach and has Missouri’s line playing well. Haley was a graduate assistant at Arkansas in 1990. He would be a great hire for Morris, but his salary is $400,000 at Missouri. Hunter Yurachek would have to approve Morris spending more on this hire than he budgeted in for Scott. Haley was the defensive line coach at Texas in 2015-16 thus on the same Charlie Strong staff with current Arkansas running backs coach Jeff Traylor. Haley was at LSU from 2009-14 coaching the defensive line for then coordinator Chavis. He has pro experience coaching the defensive line for the Chicago Bears from 2007-08. Haley has also coached the defensive line at Mississippi State, Troy State and Austin Peay. He coached linebackers at Georgia Tech, Baylor (also defensive coordinator), Clemson and Houston. He was a high school coach at Enterprise (Ala.) High School in 1989. He played linebacker at Alabama A&M from 1984-88. Chavis was defensive coordinator at Alabama A&M from 1986-88. 

Marion Hobby, Last Coached for Jacksonville Jaguars

Hobby was one of a group of Jaguar assistant coaches who were let go on Dec. 31. He had coached with the Jaguars in both 2017-18. He was the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Clemson from 2011-16. Morris was the offensive coordinator with the Tigers from 2011-14 coming onto the staff the same year as Hobby. Hobby also has coached the defensive line at Duke, Ole Miss and Louisiana-Lafayette in college and the New Orleans Saints in the NFL. He was the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Tennessee in 1998 thus on the same staff as Chavis. He also was strength and conditioning coach at Tennessee-Martin as well as Louisana-Lafayette. He was a third-round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft after his college career at Tennessee. Chavis was on the Tennessee staff Hobby’s final season with the Vols in 1989.

David Turner, Texas-San Antonio

Turner was mentioned for the same job at Arkansas when Morris hired Chavis. Morris opted to retain Scott. Turner was at Texas A&M coaching defensive tackles for Chavis and Kevin Sumlin from 2016-17. He was someone Sumlin thought highly of making him the highest paid non-coordinator on his staff. Turner has also coached the defensive line at Mississippi State, Kentuky, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Virginia, North Carolina State and James Madison. He also coached linebackers in addition to defensive line at Virginia and North Carolina State. His first job was at Davidson in 1986-87 where he coached running backs and tight ends. Turner played running back at Davidson from 1981-84. 

Buddy Wyatt, Appalachian State

Wyatt coached the defensive line at SMU for Morris from 2015-17. He was just hired at Appalachian State following one season as a senior analyst at Kansas. Wyatt has coached the defensive line at Kansas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Alabama, Colorado, Northwestern, Oklahoma State and Minnesota. He was born in Victoria, Texas, and was a defensive lineman at TCU from 1986-89. He was a graduate assistant with the Horned Frogs in 1991 working with the defensive line. He’s a very respected coach, but one has to wonder if Morris chose not to bring him with him from SMU would he hire him now? 

Brian Early, Houston

A real longshot here. The timing probably isn’t favorable for Morris to hire Early, who he got to know while coaching Dre Greenlaw. Early was just recently hired to coach the defensive line for the Cougars. He was at Arkansas State the past five seasons coaching the defensive line. He came to Arkansas State from the University of Arkansas was he was the defensive quality control for Bielema. He was defensive coordinator at Fayetteville High School from 2009-12. He coached the defensive line and special teams at UCA from 2005-08. He coached the linebackers and special teams for UCA in 2004. He also has coaching experience at Minnesota State-Mankao, West Memphis High School, Arkansas-Monticello and Greenland High School. He is from Monticello and graduated from Arkansas-Monticello in 1994. 

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