When Southern coach Dawson Odums decided to relinquish the defensive coordinator duties, it was easy to decide who to hand them to.
On Wednesday, Odums said he has hired North Carolina A&T assistant coach Trei Oliver to oversee the Jaguars defense. Oliver, who coached the outside linebackers and defensive ends at A&T, played with Odums at North Carolina Central and he and Odums were assistant coaches together there under A&T defensive coordinator Sam Washington.
“They’ve always played really, really good defense over there,” Odums said. “They’ve been in the top five in the country in total defense, run defense and pass defense the majority of his career. We have the talent that fits that system.”
The Aggies won the HBCU national championship when they defeated Alcorn State 41-34 in the inaugural Celebration Bowl last month.
Southern has not beaten Alcorn State since Odums was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach two games into the 2012 season. The Braves are 5-0 against the Jaguars under Odums, who has remained as defensive coordinator, having averaged 41 points in those games. They beat Southern 48-7 last season and in the 2014 Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game 38-24.
Odums said he will consult with Oliver on other defensive hires in hopes of completing them by the end of the week.
The Jaguars have openings for a defensive line coach and a cornerbacks coach as well as co offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, though offensive line coach Chennis Berry has been co-offensive coordinator.
Chad Germany resigned as co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach last month and has since been hired by Jackson State as its offensive coordinator.
Southern was 6-3 and finished in third place in the SWAC West last season after winning the division in Odums’ first two full seasons.
But defensively they lowered their average total yards, rushing yards and passing yards allowed, and allowed less than one point per game more, compared to 2014.
They ranked fifth in the SWAC in scoring defense (33.5, up from 32.7), third in total defense (385.8, down from 423.5), fourth in run defense (160.7, down from 173.5) and sixth in pass defense (225.1, down from 250.0).
N.C. A&T (10-2 and 7-1) led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in total defense (267.3) and run defense (86.2), was second in scoring defense (17.2), third in pass defense efficiency (108.7) and fourth in pass defense (181.2).
Oliver spent the last four seasons as A&T’s outside linebackers coach and also was the staff’s financial aid liaison. He took on the defensive line duties before last season.
Before joining former Grambling coach Rod Broadway’s staff with the Aggies, Oliver spent four seasons at Grambling as the outside linebackers coach and special teams and recruiting coordinator.
From 2003-2006, Oliver, who played safety and punter at N.C. Central, was an assistant coach with the Eagles. He started as defensive coach, then became wide receivers coach in 2004.
Oliver began his coaching career as defensive backs coach and assistant special teams coordinator at Delaware State.