FanPost

The Case for Kevin Steele

I have seen much hand-wringing amongst the Cardinals faithful regarding the potential hiring of Kevin Steele as our defensive coordinator, but little evidence in support of all that fretting. Let's look at some cold hard facts that might help ease concerns:

First, this is a DC who has BCS-level head coaching experience. Yes it was at Baylor. Yes, he went 9-36, but typically you need to be a pretty good coordinator to ever get that call. He took a 2-9 team and won 1, 2, 3, and 3 games in consecutive seasons. So he wasn't good enough to turn Baylor around, but they don't appear to have gotten any worse either. For those crying out for Chizik, it is worth noting how terrible Chizik has been as a head coach at ISU and AU--don't even cite the Malzahn/Newton title team.

He won National Recruiter of the Year in 2005 while the lead recruiter at Florida State. Florida State was imploding around that time due to the Bobby Bowden losing touch with modern football, but if our main concern is talent acquisition, this guy would seem to fit the bill.

The biggest source of concern I have seen out of Cardinals fans regards his firing from Clemson after giving up 70 points to WVU in a BCS bowl game in 2011. It is worth pointing out that in his first season at Clemson, the Tigers finished 20th in total defense and 25th in scoring defense nationally. In his second season, they finished 19th in total defense and 13th in scoring defense.

It seems in season 3, the wheels came off, but if you read this season preview, it appears that was mostly expected: http://cfn.scout.com/2/1084022.html. Losing six starters is pretty tough for any defense to recover from. You will notice the article mentions the "bumper crop" of defensive recruits brought in that year, but those are going to be true freshman. Who wants to ride and die with true freshman in major college football? Again, it seems as if he stockpiled some pretty significant defensive talent for the future based on that article.

He served as DC and recruiting coordinator under Saban at Alabama during two different stints. This comes from an Alabama article written last year, "How valuable is Steele to a football program? That same day, Saban praised his ability to handle every aspect of a coach's responsibility, from organization to recruiting to teaching on the field. 'I don't know if I could remember anybody that I would say, all around, is any better than him,' Saban said, 'And I've been around a lot of good coaches.'"

Does Kevin Steele have the name recognition of Randy Shannon or Gene Chizik? Nope. And maybe he isn't the coach either of those individuals would be if we had hired them. But to act like this is some completely unproven individual is equally foolish. So take a deep breath and give this guy a chance. Considering how solid our defenses were under Bobby during our first stint with someone like Mike Cassity as the DC, I think Bobby has earned the benefit of the doubt here.

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