Joe Moorhead stuck to his philosophy of “measure twice and cut once” regarding the defensive coordinator position on his staff; a full week after his announcement press conference, he made a great hire in Bob Shoop to be defensive coordinator at Mississippi State.
Shoop comes with a wealth of experience with 7 years as a Power 5 defensive coordinator. He worked with James Franklin at Vanderbilt for 3 years as defensive coordinator where Franklin became one of the hottest coaches in college football routinely battling the power teams of the East. Franklin then took Shoop up to Happy Valley with him where he remained for 2 seasons before making the move back to the SEC to Tennessee under Butch Jones.
While some may criticize this hire purely based on the Tennessee connection, it should be remembered how much of a dumpster fire Tennessee was at the time Shoop came on board. A plethora of injuries, on top of an inconsistent offense that kept the defense on the field far too long, plagued Shoop this past year. A fresh start was needed for Shoop and in stepped Moorhead.
Moorhead and Shoop were not at PSU at the same time, but this has all the feel of a phone call/text message exchange between Joe and James Franklin. Shoop was an outstanding defensive coordinator under James Franklin and Moorhead holds Franklin in very, very high regard. I personally hold James Franklin in very high regard, even back to his time at Vanderbilt, so I also will trust his judgment in vouching for Shoop.
He will run an aggressive defense; as he has previously been quoted at Tennessee as wanting to stop the run with aggressive play calling. In a division with Bama (power run team), Auburn (power run team), Texas A&M (Jimbo runs that pro style so expect a solid run game), and LSU (Coach O runs the ball), a hire designed to stop these team’s primary goal is a wise move. He will inherit possibly the most talented defensive roster, especially on the front seven, so his goal should be achieved far easier than he may realize.
Finally, Shoop comes with a ton of experience that Moorhead will be happy to trust. Joe is an offensive guy. The defense will be Shoop’s so Joe can manage the offense the way he wants; Moorhead has already stated he will be calling plays, so we can expect that to have his full attention during the game. This will give Shoop control of the defense with minimal interference from Moorhead, which I am sure was appealing to Shoop coming from the iron hand of Butch Jones.
Whether you like it or not, this is a good hire that Bulldog Nation needs to rally behind. We have one of the most talented defenses we have ever had returning in 2018 and now a veteran coach to guide them. Welcome Shoop and Hail State.