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FAU hires Southern Miss defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro for same position

Lane Kiffin stays within the conference to steal a rising coordinator.

NCAA Football: Navy at Florida Atlantic Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

According to Football Scoop, Lane Kiffin has found his new defensive coordinator and the name is a familiar one in Conference USA circles. Southern Miss defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro will move from C-USA West to C-USA East, as Pecoraro has been tabbed to replace Chris Kiffin as FAU’s new defensive coordinator.

Tony Pecoraro has only been Southern Miss’ defensive coordinator for two years, but he’s proving to be a rising star in the coaching ranks. Under Pecoraro the Golden Eagles had one of the most disruptive defenses in the country.

In 2016 Southern Miss had the 15th ranked total defense in the country and ranked 7th in Havoc Rate, an advanced stat that measures how frequently a defenses causes tackles for loss, passes defensed, and forced fumbles.

In 2017 Southern Miss ranked 18th in Havoc Rate and had the 20th ranked total defense in the country. Last year he coached Xavier Thigpen and Curtis Mikell to All Conference USA Second Team honors. In 2016 he guided Dylan Bradley and D’Nerius Antoine to All C-USA First Team honors.

Pecoraro will inherit one of the most talented defenses in C-USA as the Owls will have seniors Azeez Al-Shaair, Jalen Young, and Shelton Lewis (all were All C-USA First Team selections) back.

Not to mention Zyon Gilbert, Quran Hafiz, Chris Tooley and Andrew Soroh returning in the secondary on top of Hunter Snyder and Rashad Smith in the front seven (the duo combined for 12 sacks).

This was a very smart hire by Lane Kiffin and one that really hurts a conference rival. The Golden Eagles recruited the Florida panhandle often during Pecoraro time in Hattiesburg so his ties to that region of Florida is a bonus on the recruiting trail.

But make no mistake, this hire was made because of what Pecoraro produced on the field. Given how well Pecoraro adapted his schemes to the talent he inherited at USM, it isn’t hard to envision the Owls having a very successful defensive unit during Pecoraro’s first year in Boca Raton.