After losing their head coach at a very inopportune time of the year, Buffalo atheltic director Mark Alnutt set out to make lemonade out of lemons. And he did it very quickly.
In just seven days Buffalo went from a school starting a coaching search to a school that landed a high profile Big Ten defensive coordinator to take over a program which has become used to success.
Maurice Linguist, the co-defensive coordinator at Michigan agreed to come coach Buffalo today. After visiting the school and taking a walk through tour Linguist will try to keep the UB football program on the trajectory of success which out going coach Lance Leipold charted for the school.
Linguist checks a lot of boxes that will make Buffalo fans happy.
First and foremost he has been a defensive position coach at every level, and has been successful at every stop along the way.
Shortly after his playing career, and tenure as a grad assistant ended Linguist got his first job at Valdosta, a division two school that finished 9-3 and ranked 12th nationally in Division II in his short stay.
From there he got tapped by JMU, of the Football Championship Subdivision. Once again he was given responsibility over the safeties and special teams. He was also JMU’s Primary Recruiter in D.C. and it’s surrounding areas in Maryland.
Under his watch JMU recruited well and had a solid defensive backfield.
Then, hired by Buffalo, he helped mold UB’s starting corner backs, Najja Johnson and Cortney Lester, into all conference players who ranked first and second in the MAC in interceptions.
Since Buffalo he’s went on to Iowa State, Mississippi State, Minnesota, and Texas A&M. At each of those stops he coached the defensive backs.
He spent 2020 with the Dallas Cowboys before getting a job with Michigan as the defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator.
His recuriting chops are already well proven, our sister site over at Maize N’ Brew, ahve noted that in his short time in Ann Arbor Linguist has been drawing more excitement from the fan base than most anyone else on the staff.
He Knows Buffalo, and the challenges
As noted above, he was one of the bright spots of the Jeff Quinn era. Having shows success with the defensive backs in Buffalo.
He’s not “a Buffalonian” given the short stint, but he has already worked with a number of the staff at Buffalo and has some local ties.
His walk through of the facilities yesterday may have been jarring, given the state of our player development infrastructure 8 years ago.
He’s a bold hire
This is not the “safe” move that a lot of people feared. Mark Alnutt has decided to roll the dice on a guy who looks great on paper, but has never sat in the big seat.
If you believe that what Lance managed was “just the beginning” for UB football, this is a good hire. Buffalo managed to lure away a Big Ten defensive coordinator slated to make nearly 700K next year in Ann Arbor.
He will likely make less at Buffalo, who was paying Leipold on the order of 600K. But the tradeoff for Linguist is that he will be getting a contract with some length to prove himself as a head coach for the next level.
He’s young, he’s hungry
He’s in his mid 30’s and already has quickly walked his way from a division II football coach in 2008, to a Big Ten defensive coordinator 12 years later. With stops at six other colleges and an NFL team in the mix.
Linguist is not a guy that’s content to stay still. His ambition has been met with success at every stop.
I don’t expect we will be talking about him in a half dozen years. He’s either going to be successful here and move up, or not be.
All signs point to success, but you never know how well suited someone is for the big chair until they take a seat in it.
What’s next for Linguist
There is a press conference tomorrow where he will officially be introduced. After that he needs to meet with the team who’s here, talk to the six Bulls who have entered the transfer portal since Leipold left, figure out which assistant (if any) he’s going to keep, and then finally assemble a staff and try to get the team ready for a football season that starts in about three months.
So... no pressure.