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Football: Two more coaches leave UL

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, January 4, 2015


What once was one of the most stable assistant coaching staffs in the country no longer is.

Two more Ragin’ Cajun football assistant coaches have left UL, making it four since the start of the 2014 season and meaning none of head coach Mark Hudspeth’s original defensive staff members remain with the program.

UL confirmed Sunday that both defensive line coach Tim Edwards and interim outside linebackers coach Matt Wallerstedt "will not be returning" in 2015.

Hudspeth would not comment on the specific reason for either departure.

"I just think it comes to a point in your program where you need to make some changes to make sure you’re moving forward and continuing to progress," Hudspeth said Sunday night, "and sometimes … that might be what it takes."

SI.com first reported via Twitter on Sunday that Edwards had been "let go," and FootballScoop, a coaching-jobs focused website, reported Sunday that Wallerstedt wouldn’t be back.

The latest exits leave UL with three defensive staff vacancies: defensive lines coach, outside linebackers coach and secondary coach.

The Cajuns could make one hire as soon as this week, but the other two may take more time.

"I definitely think you can get it back to that (prior level of stability)," Hudspeth said. "But my biggest concern is trying to identify and attract the best coaches that we can."

James Willis will remain as defensive coordinator, Hudspeth said.

UL went into the 2014 season with only one assistant who was not with the program when Hudspeth coached his first Cajun season in 2011.

It was ex-NFL linebacker Willis, the former Texas Tech defensive coordinator and Auburn and Alabama assistant who was hired when Greg Stewart was fired after two seasons.

Wallerstedt was Texas Tech’s defensive coordinator until leaving the Red Raiders program last September.

He joined UL first as a defensive "consultant," and — though not earning full-time pay —S was named outside linebackers coach after David Saunders disassociated from the program later in 2014.

Hudspeth had hoped to retain Wallerstedt, who previously was his defensive coordinator at North Alabama.

But it’s likely he will have opportunities elsewhere that will pay more than if he had stayed at UL.

Edwards, a former defensive lineman with the NFL’s New England Patriots and an ex-assistant at Hampton and Florida A&M, was one of Hudspeth’s original defensive staff members.

He coached two of the top Cajun defensive lineman in recent UL history, Christian Ringo and Justin Hamilton, over the past four years.

With Edwards out, Hudspeth said freshman defensive lineman Ken Edwards — the coach’s nephew — "has informed us that he will not be returning."

Ken Edwards, redshirted this past season, is expected to transfer to a junior college in his native Mississippi.

Saunders exited for reasons described by UL as "personal," and last month secondary coach Tim Rebowe — a longtime Cajun assistant preceding Hudspeth’s arrival — was named head coach at Nicholls State.

That leaves Willis as UL’s only defensive holdover from 2014.

UL’s current offensive assistants — coordinator Jay Johnson, tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Reed Stringer, running backs coach Mitch Rodrigue and receivers coach Jorge Munoz — have been with Hudspeth at UL each of the last four seasons.

Hudspeth said he anticipates all four will remain at UL.

In other coaching news, two more former UL staffers reportedly are joining Rebowe’s new Nicholls State staff.

Footballscoop.com reported last month that Tommy Rybacki is Nicholls State’s new defensive coordinator and the Alexandria Town Talk reported Brian Wallace accepted a position as a defensive assistant coach.

Rybacki left his UL grad assistant’s post to become Central Arkansas’ cornerbacks coach last season under Stewart.

Though never a full-fledged Cajuns assistant, Wallace — co-defensive coordinator at Louisiana College the last three years — helped coach the defense and special teams at UL from 2009-11.

Hudspeth previously said UL grad assistant Sean Murphy would join Rebowe’s staff as wide receivers coach.