Sooners Co-DC Heading to the Green Bay Packers

By EFN Staff
Published: 02/11/2015

Jerry Montgomery was promoted from defensive line coach to co-defensive coordinator in January and is now off to the NFL, such is the case for Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops trying to piece mail together a staff for the 2015 season.

Stoops has undergone a massive overhaul of his coaching staff after finishing the 2014 season 8-5. Adding to the frustration of the season, the team was an AP Top 5 ranked team entering the season leading to grumblings from Sooner Nation when all was said and done.

Due to an underachieving season, gone are co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell replaced by Lincoln Riley from East Carolina University. A new wide receivers coach was named, Dennis Simmons off the Washington State staff, and running backs coach Jay Boulware was moved to inside receivers coach. Cale Gundy is in charge of the running backs and was promoted to Associate Head Coach.

The only person on staff on the offensive side of the ball with the same title from a year ago is offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.

The defense was shaken up as well after 2014 defensive coordinator Mike Stoops’ unit failed to stop anyone’s passing game. The squad finished ranked No. 117 in the nation in pass defense allowing 276.2 yards per game. Stoops was given help with Montgomery adding co-defensive coordinator responsibilities on top of coaching the defensive line.

Now Bob Stoops must rethink his strategy on not only finding a defensive line coach but also if he should hire a defensive coordinator or add a co-defensive coordinator to the staff.

The possibility of Stoops firing his brother Mike, which would make most Sooner Nation fans happy, would have happened already if that was the team’s new path. Now Stoops must find someone willing to come in as a co-defensive coordinator or risk allowing his brother to tank the OU defense for another season.

Mike was moved from coaching the secondary to coaching outside linebackers in OU’s 3-4 defense. Tim Kish was the linebackers coach last season but in 2015 his sole responsibility is inside linebackers. Taking over for Mike in the secondary is Kerry Cooks. Cooks spent the last five seasons coaching defensive backs for the Fighting Irish.

Montgomery will be missed. He spent 2013 and 2014 as the defensive line coach at OU heading to Norman from the University of Michigan. The Sooners finished ranked No. 51 in total defense last season thanks in larger part to Montgomery’s defensive line. The front seven held opponents to an average of 106.4 yards per game, ranking No. 8 in the country; but why run it if you know you can pass it against the defense.

Saban released a statement regarding Montgomery taking a job with the Green Bay Packers stating, “This is a rare opportunity for Jerry and his family to join one of the finest organizations in the National Football League. I appreciate the positive impact that Jerry has made with our defensive line the past two seasons, as well as his many other contributions to Oklahoma Football.”

An often overlooked problem with NFL staffs plucking college coaches in February is how the change affects high school seniors who signed with a given college on National Signing Day. Oklahoma signed four defensive linemen in the 2015 class, DE Gabriel Campbell, Yazoo City, MS; DE Kenneth Mann, Burleson High School, TX; DT Neville Gallimore, Canada Prep; Ontario; and DT Marquise Overton, Jenks High School, OK.

Gallimore and Overton were rated as 4-star linemen with offers to top programs like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Miami, Mississippi State, TCU, UCLA, USC, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, and Florida State. Montgomery was known as a great recruiter leaving the kids he lured to Norman to fend for themselves going forward.

Would the four defensive linemen signed had made a different college choice knowing Montgomery would not be their position coach?

Photo credit: kfor.com; Jerry Montgomery.