Southern coach Dawson Odums said he’s “leaning toward” hiring a defensive coordinator to take those duties off his hands.
Odums has held the dual roles since being promoted to interim head coach two games into the 2012 season, and he’s considering how to revamp his staff in the wake of four departures last month.
The recent firing of defensive line coach Myron Jackson, linebackers coach Lorick Atkinson and cornerbacks coach Chris Scott gives Odums flexibility as he hires replacements. Odums also has to replace co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach/recruiting coordinator Chad Germany, who has announced his resignation, effective Jan. 14.
“I’m in no hurry,” Odums said Monday in his first public comments since The Advocate reported the departures Dec. 2. “I haven’t decided (about a defensive coordinator). It’s like riding a horse — some days he agrees with you and some days he doesn’t. I’ve leaned both ways. Right now I’m leaning toward (hiring a defensive coordinator).”
Odums said he doesn’t expect to make any hires before the conclusion of the American Football Coaches Association convention, which he will attend this weekend in San Antonio.
The only defensive coach who was retained from last year’s staff was first-year safeties coach Steve Adams, who is also the special teams coordinator. That leaves Odums with a variety of options with his defensive hires.
“I wanted to go in a different direction,” Odums said. “It’s been three years and we’re going to have a young team and I thought it would be good to hear some other voices.”
This past season, the Jaguars slipped to 6-3 and third place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference West division 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.
Odums, who also coaches the defensive ends, said his budget for filling out the staff limits his options.
“I must be the highest-paid position coach in the SWAC,” he said.
Odums, who has two years remaining on his contract, has a base salary of $175,000 in a coaching-salary budget of about $600,000.
Germany was making $60,500 and co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Chennis Berry is making $73,300. Odums said Berry is a candidate to be sole offensive coordinator after Germany’s impending departure.
“A dollar can only go so far,” Odums said. “I want all my coaches to be able to feed their families comfortably.”
Meanwhile, the Clarion-Ledger reported Monday that Germany will be named offensive coordinator on the staff of new Jackson State head coach Tony Hughes.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.