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Tuesday, December 18, 2012
What will Huxtable add to NC State?

By Andrea Adelson

Dave Huxtable is on his fourth team in as many years, and his third coordinator job in that time span.

Even for coaches who move with regularity, Huxtable has changed zip codes more often than most. While some NC State fans may raise eyebrows about all his frequent moves, Huxtable does come with a long coaching résumé, recruiting ties to the Southeast and some pretty terrific defenses he called his own.

So what will NC State get from Huxtable now that he has been hired as defensive coordinator under new coach Dave Doeren? I can tell you from experience covering two of Huxtable's teams that folks in Raleigh should be excited about this hire. Because they are going to watch a pretty relentless form of defense that will find its strength in its front seven.

If you look back at what Huxtable did during his most recent coordinator stints at UCF (2008-10) and Pitt (2012), each of his teams featured strong running defenses and players who aggressively attacked the line of scrimmage. This past season, the Panthers featured tackle Aaron Donald, who ranked No. 6 in the country in tackles for loss.

At UCF, Huxtable coached players like Darius Nall and Bruce Miller in 2010 -- each player had 8.5 sacks. In 2009, Miller ranked No. 18 in the nation in tackles for loss, and both he and Jarvis Geathers had double-digit sacks. Both seasons, the Knights ranked in the Top 10 in the nation in rushing defense -- No. 4 in 2009 and No. 8 in 2010.

Huxtable is an old-school, throwback kinda coach, who spent years working under George O'Leary both at Georgia Tech and UCF. His 4-3 defenses are physical, and he brings a relentless attitude to the practice field. Though Doeren and Huxtable never coached together at Wisconsin -- Huxtable actually replaced Doeren as linebackers coach in 2011 -- they do share the same defensive philosophies.

Northern Illinois ranked No. 9 in the nation in tackles for loss this season and No. 11 in sacks. Their styles should mesh together, and that should leave NC State fans excited about the possibilities.