Posted by Adam Jacobi
On Thursday, Purdue head coach Danny Hope announced that Purdue had found its next defensive coordinator in Tim Tibesar. Tibesar's journey to West Lafayette via the unusual route of the CFL; he had been the defensive coordinator for the Montreal Alouettes for the past three years. Tibesar will also serve as Purdue's linebackers coach.
“I am thrilled with the addition of Tim Tibesar to our coaching staff,” Hope said in a statement. “He is on the cutting edge of the science of defensive football. The Canadian Football League is an offensive league – with 12 players per side on a wider field and three downs to get a first down – and features the zone read game that we are seeing more and more of at the college level. Tim knows how to defend that offense, and I am excited to see him bring his defense to Purdue."
"My family and I are very excited to join the Boilermaker family," Tibesar said. "I am really looking forward to working with coach Hope and the Purdue players."
Now, Tibesar's background is not exclusively in Canadian football, so it's not like he's going to be running 12 players out there on every other player then slapping his forehead when the flag gets thrown; that would be funny, but wildly implausible for many reasons. Tibesar's football knowledge is much more grounded in American football than Canadian: he was a standout linebacker at North Dakota through the 1996 season, and he spent nine seasons coaching defense or special teams at the collegiate level at Cornell (one season), North Dakota (five seasons), and Kansas State (three seasons) before heading to Montreal.
Once in the CFL, however, Tibesar was instrumental in the Alouettes' remarkable success. The Als, as they're commonly called up north, won the Grey Cup in Tibesar's first two years as defensive coordinator, then made the playoffs again in 2011. The Montreal D was particularly tenacious in 2009, leading the CFL in nearly every statistical category, and this season's rush defense was the best in the league.
Tibesar is Purdue's third defensive coordinator in as many years. 2011 DC Gary Emanuel was quietly deleted from Purdue's roster of coaches in the offseason this year after his first year atop the defense; in 2010, Emanuel shared the defensive coordinator position with Donn Landholm, who still coaches outside linebackers for the Boilermakers. That kind of tumult isn't generally conducive to success in developing players and a defensive system, but Hope must think he's got a long-term prospect at DC in Tibesar, who won't turn 40 years old until less than a week before the 2012 season.
It should be noted, however, that KSU was ranked 117th in total defense under Tibesar in 2008, and while the Big 12 was absolutely loaded with offensive talent that year (that was the season of the three-way tie in the Big 12 South at 11-1 between Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech), that doesn't excuse the 38 points given up to Louisville or the 37 ceded to Louisiana-Lafayette in non-conference play. Tibesar is likely a much better coach now than he was four years ago, but his track record isn't exactly one of a wunderkind just yet.
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