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Purdue Football Coaching Changes: Ross Els Hired as Defensive Coordinator

Purdue finishes its staff transitions by hiring anew defensive coordinator.

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Well, it is not D'Onofrio, which is good. Buried in the middle of the big bowls it was announced today that Purdue hired Ross Els as its new co-defensive coordinator, along with promoting Marcus Freeman to co-Defensive Coordinator. If you're wondering, "Who?" you are not alone. Here is the background on Els according to the release from Purdue:

Els returns to collegiate coaching after spending the 2015 season as an assistant coach at Lincoln Southwest, his son's high school in Lincoln, Nebraska. A veteran of 26 seasons of coaching on the collegiate level, he most recently spent four seasons (2011-14) as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Nebraska. Els helped the Cornhuskers to a 37-16 record and four bowl appearances: 2012 and 2013 Capital One, 2014 Gator and 2014 Holiday.

Under Els' guide, NU linebacker Lavonte David was named the 2011 Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and was one of six finalists for the Butkus Award, presented annually to the nation's top linebacker. David was also a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Lott Trophy en route to being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

In 2012, Els' mentee Will Compton topped the team with 110 tackles, including 6.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks, to help Nebraska to 10 regular-season wins and a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Prior to Nebraska, Els served as linebackers coach at Ohio from 2005 to 2010, including the last season as assistant head coach. He helped the Bobcats to three bowl appearances, two Mid-American Conference East Division championships and coached four All-MAC linebackers.

Els' other experience includes four seasons as New Mexico State as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach (2003-04) and special teams and safeties coach (2001-02); six seasons at Hastings College as head coach (1997-2000), defensive coordinator and secondary coach (1996) and quarterbacks coach (1995); two seasons at Northern Iowa as secondary coach (1994) and a graduate assistant (1989); and four seasons at Nebraska-Omaha as secondary coach (1990-93).

So Purdue hired a guy that was a high school coach last season and was defensive coordinator at New Mexico State (one of the worst FBS level programs in America and hasn't been to a bowl since 1960).Here is what coach Hazell had to say about him:

"I love what coach Els brings to our staff," Hazell said. "He is incredibly detailed, yet very simplistic in philosophy. Our players will be fundamentally sound and play with great enthusiasm. He has been an excellent recruiter at every place he has coached and I can't wait to see our defense flourish with his addition to our team."

So... yeah. There is that.


Here is what Brian Towle of Corn Nation had to say: