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Mizzou secondary coach David Gibbs is leaving for UCF

Updated: Feb 19, 2021


It has been reported and confirmed Thursday morning that Missouri's cornerbacks and secondary coach David Gibbs will be leaving Missouri to take a similar job at UCF and be the co-defensive coordinator for the Knights. This move is made as UCF continues to fill their staff after hiring Gus Malzahn as head coach following Josh Heupel's departure for Tennessee.

First impression is that the Gibbs departure is a loss for Mizzou make no mistake about it. Say what you want about the secondary play over the last few years and how much Gibbs had to do with it but the truth is defensive back recruiting had been very successful since he'd gotten here. Gibbs was instrumental in landing guys like Ennis Rakestraw from Texas, Daylan Carnell from Indiana, Jadarrius Perkins from Mississippi, and Isaac Thompson from Saint Louis just to name a few. It'll also be interesting how exactly Gibb's departure will effect both recruiting and the mindset of players already on campus that were promised David Gibbs. However, this move shouldn't come as a total surprise. Gibbs was in the running for a promotion at Missouri's DC opening after Ryan Walters left for Illinois but since Drinkwitz and Missouri essentially hired Steve Wilks over him, Gibbs likely saw the writing on the wall that there was no room for advancement here if he couldn't get the job now.

Before coming to Missouri prior to the 2018 season, Gibbs was the defensive coordinator at Texas Tech where he had one of the top units in the nation when it came to creating turnovers. In the season before coming to Missouri, Gibbs' defense at Texas Tech ranked sixth nationally with 29 forced turnovers. Unfortunately, Gibb's defensive backfields at Missouri didn't seem to have the same kind of production but Gibbs was temporary defensive coordinator for the South Carolina game this past season where Missouri only allowed 10 points and the defense had won the game with a late interception with just under two minutes left. Gibbs has been in coaching for over 25 years now and has been a defensive coordinator for 11 seasons as well as a defensive backs coach in the NFL for 9 seasons.

Gibbs also continues a trend of former Barry Odom holdovers leaving after year one with Drinkwitz at the helm. This is nothing to be worried about, though. Clearly when Drinkwitz got here he kept the defensive staff of the last regime largely intact because they had done well the year before and Drinkwitz saw it as a safe bet to keep them around while he transitioned. Now that Drinkwitz has a season under his belt and the defense didn't really do all that well in 2020, it's easy to conclude that Drinkwitz didn't like what he saw and has since been pushing people out the door in a way which has led to the hires of Steve Wilks and Jethro Franklin.

It will be interesting to see how the team handles the filling of Gibbs' vacancy now that he is gone for UCF but there are a few names that instantly come up as possible suitors.

Steve Wilks: Wilks has been a secondary coach both in college and the NFL and doesn't really have a designated position coach title as of right now in addition to being DC. Maybe he steps in there and Mizzou fills the staff out in some other way.

Dave Merritt: Dave Merritt was Steve Wilks' defensive back coach in Arizona when Wilks was the head coach there in 2018. He is currently an assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs.

DeWayne Walker: Currently the defensive backs coach for the Arizona Wildcats, Walker was Steve Wilks' defensive backs coach in 2019 when they were both in Cleveland.

Robert Steeples: Robert Steeples is a former NFL cornerback and currently the head coach at De Smet High School in Saint Louis. Steeples was actually in consideration for the Notre Dame cornerbacks coach position just last year and possibly ready to make the jump to college but of course the big reason this hire would make sense is the recruiting aspect. Steeples could help make inroads in saint Louis.

These are just a few names based off of pure speculation but nothing has been reported. For right now, Missouri will try to fill the defensive backs coach position in a timely manner.


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