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Tenuta takes job at NC State

Feb 11, 2010, 4:38 PM EDT

Jon Tenuta has resurfaced at the collegiate level, after being rumored everywhere from USC to the NFL.

North Carolina State made it official today that Tenuta joins head coach Tom O’Brien’s staff as linebackers coach.

This from the official release:

NC State head coach Tom O’Brien announced today that Jon Tenuta has joined the Wolfpack staff and will serve as linebackers coach, replacing Andy McCollum, who took another job on Tuesday. Tenuta brings 29 years of experience as a coach and 16 as a defensive coordinator, most recently at Notre Dame.

“We lost a heckuva football coach and a great person in Andy McCollum,” said O’Brien on Thursday. “He will be missed by our staff and our players and we wish him the best. But we have been fortunate to be able to hire someone with the experience and wealth of knowledge that Jon Tenuta brings to our staff.”

It’s interesting reading the different reactions to the hiring. Will Brinson over at Buster Sports, and a huge NC State fan, looks at the hiring positively, finding Tenuta as a possible backstop for much maligned Wolfpack defensive coordinator Mike Archer.

Says Brinson:

Now, this is the definition, I think, of a “splash signing.” Everyone
and their brother knows that Tenuta doesn’t care for recruiting;
McCollum was probably the best recruiter on the Pack staff.

At the same time, it’s pretty hard to argue that Tenuta hasn’t had
success nearly everywhere he’s been, with his most recent season at
Notre Dame possibly the exception (he helped them improve, although
they weren’t necessarily “great”). Ohio State had superb defenses when
he was there as the DB coach, UNC destroyed with him on board –
although the Peppers/Sims caveat applies — and Georgia Tech’s defense
was, well, the opposite of NCSU’s last season.

The question then becomes, whither Mike Archer, the current DC and bain
of Pack fans’ existence? Some folks, as Joe Ovies notes on Twitter, are
referring to this signing as “Archer Insurance.” And that’s about right
– Archer basically just had a fire lit under his ass by TOB hiring a
DC to work as an LB coach. 

If the defense improves, Tenuta gets a ton of credit and O’Brien
alleviates much of the heat that currently resides on his seat. If it
doesn’t, and the Pack struggles to his worst record since arriving in
Raleigh, well, it may be moot as to who he brings in anyway.

This is the exact reaction many Irish fans had when Weis announced the decision to bring in the attacking Georgia Tech defensive coordinator that stifled the Irish offense. But the hiring of Tenuta could be looked at as the downfall of Weis, as the gamble to install Tenuta’s blitz-heavy defense torpedoed the Irish defense and cost Weis and his staff jobs.

Plenty of people that know college football have the utmost respect for Tenuta as a coach, but his work with the Notre Dame defense certainly tarnished his legacy. Still, getting a coach with 16 years of coordinator experience as a linebackers coach is a good hire, and I wish Tenuta the best of luck with the new opportunity. 

  1. TLNDMA - Feb 11, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    Well the media in Raleigh is in for treat, with Tenuta’s lively, entertaining interviews. It’s sorta like interviewing a snapping turtle, not much dialogue, but he might bite at any moment.

  2. Jan - Feb 11, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Although I’ve lost track of all transitions by the coaches under Charlie, it seems that the vast majority if not all have “landed on their feet”. I don’t recall hearing of any coach or family that was hung out to dry or stabbed in the back as alleged elsewhere on this site. Best of luck to all.

  3. Jake - Feb 11, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    Jan I agree. It’s the nature of the job and everyone on staff knows it. If the head coach goes the staff generally follows him. A new coach wants to bring in his own people, those who he knows and trusts.
    Nature of the beast.

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