Eastern Michigan expected to hire UTSA’s Neal Neathery as next Defensive Coordinator

Eastern Michigan is expected to hire University of Texas-San Antonio’s Neal Neathery as its next defensive coordinator.

It was announced Jan. 1, via a source at FootballScoop.com, that Neathery will leave his duties at UTSA for EMU, where he had been the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach from 2010-2015.

This comes following the firing of Brad McCaslin who was relived of his duties on Dec. 22. 

Neathery and current EMU head coach Chris Creighton have a long history of working alongside each other. Neathery had previously been the defensive coordinator at Drake University from 2008-2009; the associate head coach at Division III Wabash College from 2001-2007, where he was named the Division III assistant coach of the year in 2007, as well as the defensive coordinator at Ottawa College in Kansas from 1997-2000, all under Creighton.

Neathery first joined the UTSA staff in 2010 when the program competed at the FCS level, but the Roadrunners would join the FBS level in 2012 compiling two winning seasons in 2012 and 2013 since moving up to the FBS level.

Neathery has traditionally run a 4-2-5 defense - a style that is prominent in stopping up-tempo offenses. It gives the defenses four defensive lineman to help prevent the run and go after the quarterback and five defensive backs to control the passing game. The two linebackers can be used and rovers either helping stop the run, prevent the pass, or go after the quarterback.

Eastern Michigan previously ran a 3-4 defense under McCaslin.

In 2013, UTSA would finish second in Conference USA having a 7-5 overall record. The defense forced 14 turnovers that season as well as allowing an average of just 143.1 rushing yards per game and held three opponents to less than 100 yards.

The UTSA defense had a few struggles in the 2015 season being ranked No. 101 in the FBS for total defense, giving up an average of 444.1 yards per game, and 33.8 points per game.

In the two years he spent at Drake, his defense ranked twelfth or better in five different defensive categories – No. 2 in tackles for loss, No. 9 in quarterbacks sacks, No. 8 in rushing defense and No. 12 in yards per game.

In 2009, the Drake defense allowed just 17.1 points per game while recording 39 sacks, eight interceptions, and two shutout wins. In 2008 the defense only allowed 17.8 points per game, registered 14 interceptions and gave up an average of 266.3 yards-per-game.

Neathery played defensive end at Division III Wheaton College in Illinois from 1989-1993.

Neathery will reunite with Creighton for the first time since 2009 in hopes to rejuvenate the Eastern Michigan football program which is coming off of an 1-11 season in Creighton’s second year at the helm. 


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