Since Jack Del Rio was named the Raiders new head coach, he has been busy hiring assistants. Thus far there are five members of the staff. But none of those assistants is a Defensive Coordinator. They have reportedly interviewed two candidates -- Eric Mangini and Mike Smith -- but neither has taken the job. All the while they have hired two members of the defensive staff.
One of those defensive staffers is new linebackers coach Sal Sunseri, who -- formerly the defensive end coach at Florida State and the linebackers coach at Alabama before that -- comes directly from the college ranks. That's where the Raiders have turned their attention in their search for the next Defensive Coordinator, according to NBC's Dianna Russini.
Russini has been tracking this story and sent out a series of Tweets on it.
In Oakland, Del Rio targeting a college coach for DC. Interview set up for Sunday. The name is being kept close to the chest #Raiders— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) January 23, 2015
If Oakland decides on a college coach for DC, told there's a very good chance they won't sign him up or announce it right away. #Raiders— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) January 25, 2015
The reason no name has been leaked yet is the same reason the move may not be announced in the near future. College coaches are busy recruiting players for the school. If it comes out that he has one foot out the door, his plans would jeopardize the school's recruiting class.
Therefore the date to keep an eye on is February 4. That's signing day. If we haven't heard anything before that, you can expect to hear something then.
At this point, any hopes of landing Mike Smith seem bleak. Del Rio has brought back several of his former coaches from his Jacksonville days including OC Bill Musgrave and OL coach Mike Tice. But there are two sides to this. It's very possible Smith may not be interested in the job. He was just fired after seven seasons as head coach of the Falcons and has likely had quite a few offers and yet has not accepted a position.
Hiring a college coach may not be exciting to some, but it happens all the time, often with great success. This is a young team. College coaches teach the game to kids right out of high school. Del Rio is a former DC himself, so it's possible it could work out.
Now, it's just a matter of patience.