A&M taps Herring as defensive coordinator

January 4, 2008 6:29:01 PM PST
Reggie Herring, Arkansas' interim head coach in the Cotton Bowl, was hired Friday to become the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M. Herring, 48, had been the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Arkansas for the past three seasons for Houston Nutt, who resigned on Nov. 26. Nutt's successor, Bobby Petrino, hired Mississippi State defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson.

Herring will replace Gary Darnell, who worked for Dennis Franchione the past two seasons. Darnell was named A&M's interim coach on Nov. 24, the day after Franchione resigned, and coached the Aggies through their 24-17 loss to Penn State in the Alamo Bowl. Mike Sherman, hired on Nov. 26, permanently replaced Franchione this week.

This season, the Aggies ranked 84th in total defense (416 yards per game) and 52nd in scoring defense (26 points per game).

"This is a tremendous honor and privilege to have the opportunity to coach here at Texas A&M with Mike Sherman," Herring said. "I am excited to be in Aggieland where there is a great football tradition. On the defensive side of the football, there is an awesome responsibility to restore the pride of that unit because of the great Wrecking Crew defenses of the past."

Herring was the Houston Texans linebackers coach in 2002-03. He served as North Carolina State's defensive coordinator in 2004 and the Wolfpack led the nation in total defense, allowing only 221.4 yards per game.

In Raleigh, Herring coached defensive end Mario Williams, the Texans' No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft. Sherman has been the Texans offensive coordinator for the past two seasons and Williams told him good things about Herring.

"Mario said Reggie was one of the best coaches he ever had at North Carolina State, when their defense was ranked No. 1 in the country," Sherman said. "I am excited to have Reggie on board to lead the defense."

Herring was a defensive coach at Clemson from 1994-2001, serving the final five seasons as the unit's coordinator. Herring was the defensive coordinator at TCU in 1992-93 and was the linebackers coach at Auburn from 1986-91.

"Reggie has accumulated invaluable experience throughout his career at the college and pro level," Sherman said. "His defenses as a coordinator have demonstrated aggressiveness, as well as tough, physical play. I have been attracted to his ability to prepare for multiple schemes, as well as personnel groups to adjust to the variety of offensive looks you find in college football."

Herring began his coaching career in 1981 as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State under Jimmy Johnson. Johnson promoted Herring to linebackers coach in 1982.

Herring was a starting linebacker at Florida State from 1978-80, leading the Seminoles in tackles all three years. He is still the third-leading tackler in Florida State history.

The addition of Herring is Sherman's most significant hire as he assembles his staff. On Thursday, he hired Dave Kennedy as his strength and conditioning coach.

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