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June 21, 2010

Ranking the Big 12: Defensive coordinators

Once known as the nation's premiere offensive league, the Big 12 has slowly evolved into one of the nation's best defensive conferences. With names like Texas's Will Muschamp and Oklahoma's Brett Venables, this league is more than loaded with bright defensive minds. Here is Huskeronline.com's top Big 12 defensive coordinators heading into 2010.

Other Rankings: QB l RB l WR l TE l OL | DT | DE | LB | CB | S | K/P | KR/PR

1. Will Muschamp, Texas
Texas defensive coordinator and head coach in waiting Will Muschamp is one of the premiere defensive minds in all of college football. The Nick Saban understudy was the missing piece UT head coach Mack Brown was looking for. Muschamp has brought defensive stability over the last two years in Austin, making the Horns a force on this side of the ball. There's no question he could've left for several different head coaching positions, but it's clear he'll wait to take over for Brown when he retires. Right now Muschamp is the highest paid assistant coach in all of college football.
2. Brett Venables, Oklahoma
Like Muschamp, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brett Venables could've left for multiple head coaching positions, but he continues to stay at OU. The Sooners are year in and year out one of the top 10 defenses in the country and a big reason why is the X's and O's provided by Venables and head coach Bob Stoops.
3. Carl Pelini, Nebraska
Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini doesn't get as much credit as he deserves for the turnaround of NU's defense, mainly because most of the calls are made by head coach Bo Pelini. However, Carl Pelini may be the best defensive line coach in the country and the fact that Tennessee offered him over $600,000 to be their defensive coordinator this year after Lane Kiffin left for USC should let you know how respected he is across college football. It will only be a matter of time before Pelini gets a head coaching opportunity.
4. Jamie Willis, Texas Tech
Everybody knows Texas Tech has a big time offense, but Jamie Willis was brought to Lubbock under Tommy Tuberville to get things going on defense. Willis was a big part of Alabama's defensive success under Saban last season, serving as the associate head coach and linebackers coach, developing players like first round draft pick Rolando McClain. Before coming to Alabama, Willis worked at Auburn under Tuberville and Muschamp serving as the Tigers linebackers coach. While at Auburn, the Tigers were considered one of the best defensive teams in the country.
5. Carl Torbush, Kansas
First year Kansas head coach Turner Gill brought on one of the more veteran defensive minds in the country in Carl Torbush. Over his coaching career Torbush has been the defensive coordinator at North Carolina, Alabama, Texas A&M and Mississippi State. He also succeeded Brown at North Carolina as the head coach when he left for Texas. There's no question he'll bring a wealth of defensive knowledge to the Big 12 in 2010.

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