UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni announced Monday that defensive line coach Hank Hughes will also serve as defensive coordinator, a move that makes sense for a variety of reasons.
Let's be honest. Nothing needs to be radically changed or altered given the performance of the defense over the past several seasons. Don Brown may be gone, but Hughes is going into his 13th season at UConn and worked with Brown the past two seasons, so I can't imagine the Huskies will all of a sudden radically change their scheme or philosophy.
Secondly, Hughes served as defensive coordinator previously at UConn, under then-coach Randy Edsall from 2002-05. Then from 2005-10, he was assistant coach for defense. All the while, he coached the defensive line -- a unit that continually produced special players including Kendall Reyes, Trevardo Williams, Cody Brown, Rhema Fuller and Deon McPhee. In 2011, UConn ranked No. 4 in the nation in rushing defense.
Finally, his defenses have gotten results. Under Hughes, UConn led the Big East in total defense in 2004, 2005 and 2008. The Huskies were No. 1 again in 2012. Having Hughes assume coordinator duties again allows the Huskies to carry on with what they know, without having to undergo a major staff shakeup on the strongest part of the team.
The Huskies formally announced one other coaching move: receivers coach Matt Cersosimo moves to cornerbacks coach.
Here is the new-look staff:
George DeLeone, associate head coach, offensive line
T.J. Weist, offensive coordinator, receivers
Hank Hughes, defensive coordinator, defensive line
Kermit Buggs, special teams coordinator, running backs
Matt Cersosimo, cornerbacks, recruiting coordinator
Shane Day, quarterbacks
Mike Foley, tight ends
Darrell Perkins, Safeties
Jon Wholley, linebackers