FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ Sam Pittman will make his third defensive line hire in three years following the dismissal of Jermial Ashley.
Pittman always has a list of possibilities at any position especially when he knows an opening is imminent. Sources have indicated three possibilities for the job though Pittman could move in a different direction.
Closer look at three possibilities.
Brick Haley, University of Minnesota
Just recently hired by Minnesota after sitting out of coaching last fall. Haley got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Arkansas in 1990. He has strong ties to Barry Odom having coached the defensive line at Baylor from 2017-2020. Haley, 54, has made several stops in coaching among them LSU, Texas, Mississippi State and the Chicago Bears. He was Baylor’s defensive coordinator from 1999-2001. He has coached linebackers earlier in his career at Clemson, Houston and Georgia Tech. He just got hired by Minnesota, but that didn’t prevent Pittman from hiring Cody Kennedy away from Southern Miss soon after being hired there.
Calvin Thibodeaux, SMU
Was at Oklahoma from 2016 until being hired by SMU. The former Sooner player was not retained by new OU coach Brent Venables. When it became apparent OU wasn’t retaining Thibodeaux a five-star defensive line commitment flipped to Texas A&M from the Sooners. Thibodeaux was nominated for the Broyles Award in 2020. Thibodeaux is known as a very talented recruiter which is something obviously appeals to Pittman.
Greg Scruggs, University of Cincinnati
At age 31 Scruggs is someone who could possibly appeal to defensive line recruits as Mike Scherer has linebacker prospects and Sam Carter with the defensive backs, Scruggs first joined Luke Fickell’s staff as Director of Player Development. Fickell moved him to the defensive line in 2020. Scruggs played his college football at Louisville. Scruggs was selected as the 25th pick in the seventh round, 232nd overall, in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He also was on the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots before entering coaching in 2018.