Tuesday evening, Tim Buckley, of The Daily Advertiser reported that Louisiana coach Mark Hudspeth has finalized his coaching staff for the 2015 season.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>ICYMI ... BREAKING: UL football defensive coach staff additions/changes expected, including Melvin Smith as new DC: <a href="http://t.co/HHFeaTeswf">http://t.co/HHFeaTeswf</a></p>— Tim Buckley (@TDARaginCajuns) <a href="https://twitter.com/TDARaginCajuns/status/567806264987684865">February 17, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
According to Buckley, recently hired defensive backs coach Melvin Smith will be promoted to co-defensive coordinator. The position became available last week when former DC James Willis left for a job with the New Orleans Saints.
Charlie Harbison will also be joining Smith as a co-defensive coordinator. Harbison's duties will also include coaching the Cajun outside linebackers. Louisiana is also expected to hire Levron Harbin to coach the defensive line.
Smith, Harbison and Harbin all come to Louisiana after spending last season at Auburn.
The university has not yet confirmed the hiring's of Harbison and Harbin or the title change for Smith; however several local media outlets have confirmed Buckley's report. The hiring's of Charlie Harbison and Levron Harbin fill out the openings that remained on the Louisiana staff. Mike Lucas, who was hired in January, will coach the Cajun inside linebackers. Lucas comes to Louisiana after spending last season as the defensive coordinator at Northwestern State.
Now let's take a closer look at the newest additions to Mark Hudspeth's staff.
Previous job: Auburn cornerbacks
Other stops: Delta State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, and Texas A&M.
Mark Hudspeth is hoping Melvin Smith's experience coaching secondary's in the SEC will help turn around the Cajun secondary that struggled mightily in 2014. Smith's secondaries have had a knack for causing turnovers throughout his coaching career. When he arrived at Auburn in 2013, his defensive backs recorded 13 picks after only grabbing two interceptions the season before. His 2009 defensive backfield at Mississippi State led the SEC with 17 interceptions. The Cajun secondary gave up 263.62 yards per game in 2014 and recorded seven interceptions.
Previous job: Northwestern State defensive coordinator
Other stops: William & Mary, Liberty, UTEP, Eastern New Mexico, Sam Houston State, Southeastern La and Indiana State
Hudspeth adds another coaching veteran to his staff with the hiring of Mike Lucas. The New Jersey native joins the Cajuns after spending 2014 as the DC at Northwestern State. Lucas also brings head coaching experience to Lafayette, he served as the head man at Southeastern La from 2007-2011.
Previous job: Auburn co-defensive coordinator/safeties
Other stops: Clemson, Alabama, Mississippi State, LSU, UTEP, and Gardner-Webb. Harbison has also coached in the AFL and World League.
Known as a dynamic recruiter in the coaching community, Harbison is another coaching veteran who will help rebuild the Louisiana defense. His resume is littered with stops throughout the nation's top conferences including the ACC and SEC where he has coached the secondary a majority of the time. Harbison does have prior defensive coordinator experience. He has served as DC at Auburn, Clemson and Mississippi State. In 2010, rivals.com named Harbison as one of the countries 25 best recruiters.
Previous job: Auburn analyst
Other stops: Tuskegee
Harbin was hired by Gus Malzon at Auburn in 2014 as an analyst. Prior to joining the Tigers, Harbin coached the defensive line at Tuskegee. He will coach the Cajun defensive line and replaces former DL coach Tim Edwards who was let go after the 2014 season.
The Cajuns will have an entirely new defensive staff for 2015, but coach Hudspeth does bring back his entire offensive staff. The offensive coaches can be seen below.
Jay Johnson - Offensive coordinator/Quarterbacks
Reed Stringer - Recruiting coordinator/Tight ends
Jorge Munoz - Pass game coordinator/Wide Receivers
Mitch Rodrigue - Run game coordinator/Offensive line
Marquase Lovings - Running backs
Troy Wingerter - Director of Football Ops
Ryan Trichel - Director of Player Personnel