Mizzou defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Dave Steckel has stepped down from his position to become the head coach of the Missouri State Bears.
Steckel has spent 14 years at Mizzou and starting as a linebackers coach. During his time as defensive coordinator, the Tigers have produced a surprising amount of NFL talent including Sean Weatherspoon, William Moore, Aldon Smith, Ziggy Hood, Kony Ealy, and this year Shane Ray and Markus Golden will be added to that list. Steckel’s defense forced a turnover in 47 straight games, but the streak ended this season against Indiana.
Of the many great skills Steckel possesses is finding low-rated recruits and turning them into NFL talent. Of the players I mentioned, Kony Ealy was the only 4-star recruit coming out of high school according to Rivals.com.
Steckel has a lot of work ahead of him. The Bears finished 4-8 overall in 2014 and 1-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Turning around the Missouri State program could catapult him into better jobs in the future.
If I had to take a guess at who will take over for Steckel, I would choose current Mizzou defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski. Kuligowski has been at Mizzou for 14 seasons and has been with head coach Gary Pinkel since his days at Toledo. If it’s not Kuligowski, I think it has to be someone with SEC experience. If Missouri wants to have continued success in the SEC, they need to continue to adapt to the play style of the SEC. Run defense has been a huge area of concern for the Tigers in the last two seasons. Perhaps Florida’s defensive line coach and associate head coach Brad Lawing might be worth a call since his boss has recently been fired.
Whoever takes over will have a tough job trying to reinvent this defense with the losses of Ray and Golden. It would be nothing short of a miracle if the Tigers end up back in Atlanta for the SEC Championship in 2015.
*Section Photo credit to Ross Taylor; Featured Photo (above) credit to Bill Carter.