IRVING, Texas – Matt Eberflus came to the Cowboys in 2011 as Rob Ryan’s wingman.
When Ryan was jettisoned after the 2012 season, the Cowboys made sure they kept Eberflus, their linebackers coach, despite making the move from Ryan’s 3-4 to Monte Kiffin’s 4-3.
Even though Eberflus’ only NFL experience is in the 3-4, he was largely a 4-3 defensive coordinator at Missouri where he developed ties with one of Kiffin’s disciples, Lovie Smith, and Tony Dungy.
“I met Lovie Smith in the early 2000s when he was in St. Louis and he came over to show us some of the system, and the next year we switched our defense to a 4-3,” Eberflus said. “In seven of the eight years we ran Lovie’s defense and we went up to the Colts and Tony Dungy. Every spring we’d go up to see Lovie in Chicago and put that system in, and they’re still running it at Missouri today.”
Eberflus, secondary coach Jerome Henderson, assistant secondary coach Joe Baker and defensive assistant Ben Bloom are the holdovers from Ryan’s staff remaining with Kiffin.
Eberflus said the terminology is the same that he used at Missouri.
“It’s helped immensely,” Eberflus said. “I’ve lived in that and worked in that for eight years now and now I’m really getting to the detail that Kif and (Rod Marinelli) want. From the pro system to the college system there’s a lot more details, but it’s fun to do and fun to go back to.”