I don't think that there is any reason to doubt CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman, who broke the news that offensive line coach Matt Moore, defensive line coach Sam McElroy and defensive backs coach Otis Mounds were all fired yesterday. The LAJ's Don Williams got quotes from head coach Tommy Tuberville, who said:
"I don’t know where he gets all that from," Tuberville said. "There’ll be some changes, but I haven’t reported number or names or anything."
Maybe I should have known this a long time ago, but the coaching profession is a fraternity. They all know each other, they sometimes like each other, but they all talk to each other. It's not a surprise that Feldman broke the news as I play Two Degrees of Bruce Feldman, Moore most likely told Leach, who most likely told Feldman. It's just a guess, but I think that's a likely scenario.
In any event, I do not doubt the information. LAJ's David Just confirmed with Mounds and it appears that various players have confirmed via Twitter, SS Terrance Bullitt confirms all three are gone.
Last year I think I spent a lot of time on trying to figure out who Tuberville would hire as his defensive coordinator and I was never even close. Chad Glasgow was not on any of the reported lists, so I won't even try to speculate who Tuberville will find to replace them. I'm guessing that Glasgow will be able to hire a couple of 4-2-5 guys on the defensive side of the ball, something that he should have been able to do when he was hired.
I think the termination of Moore was a difference of opinion more than anything else. I think there's a lot of talk between a zone and man scheme, but any good offensive line coach worth his salt can coach both and I'm sure that Moore is worth his salt. The more I think about it, the thought of a zone vs. man scheme is a bit overrated in that a line can morph between a zone or man scheme depending on what the defense presents. In pass-block protection, it's about finding your man and in running the ball, I don't have a big problem with a team utilizing both zone and man schemes. So, I'm guessing that this isn't a question as to whether or not Moore is qualified, I think he's proven that he is, but a question of how these parts were working together.
The same could be said about McElroy and Mounds. I'm guessing that Glasgow and Tuberville tried to figure out which defensive position coaches were expendable and these really are the only options. Linebackers and defensive ends coach Robert Prunty isn't an option because he is valuable to Tuberville for the mere fact that his name is mentioned as recruiting 5 of the 16 players committed, LB Kris Williams, DE Desimon Green, DL Michael Starts, LB Micah Awe and DB La'Darius Newbold. Tuberville's biggest problem is that Moore was in charge of recruiting WR Reginald Davis and McElroy was in charge of WR Dominique Wheeler. Those are two of the most important players in the 2012 class, although I'm sure that Sonny Cumbie and Tommy Mainord have relationships with both of them, but this is one of the biggest risks of letting McElroy and Moore go. The biggest risk was that I think that Moore and McElroy were both competent/good position coaches and I'm not confident that Tuberville will hire the proper replacements.
I feel bad for McElroy and Mounds as from all accounts McElroy was just the type of guy that Tuberville needed on the staff due to the fact that he is very knowledgable of Texas high schools and small colleges. Those are inroads that Tuberville didn't have the luxury to make when he was hired and by hiring McElroy, this gave Tuberville some instant credibility. Mounds was probably hired to be the position coach way too soon in his career. Mounds played for Tuberville and was at St. Thomas Aquinas as the secondary coach there. If you want to say that Tuberville has whiffed on two of his assistant coach or coordinator jobs, then James Willis and Otis Mounds should lead that list. And Mounds was most likely hired to recruit and he didn't have one single commitment from this year's class and considering how bad the cornerbacks were this year, this was an easy choice. Mounds will land on his feet back in Florida, but he shouldn't have had to uproot his famiy for a year.
To wrap up, I won't try to make any guesses as to who the replacements will be, but Tuberville should let OC Neal Brown and DC Chad Glasgow make these hires. All of these coaches have their rear on the line this year so Tuberville needs to trust the guys he hired to run his offenses and defenses and not dictate to them who they'll have to work with, which would include learning a system and teaching that system to the players.