Once Ole Miss’ head coaching search was over, it was time to turn their attention to beefing up a staff that, at its best, is still not anywhere near the top of the Southeastern Conference. No disrespect to the current staff, but Ole Miss now has an ample opportunity to upgrade its staff with its rather large assistant wallet.
And now they have.
Former Colorado and Oregon assistant Charles Clark is quite familiar with Oxford, but it will look a lot different upon his return, now that he has been hired for the 10th on-field coaching position by Matt Luke.
OFFICIAL | @CoachClark3 is coming back home. The four-year letterwinner for the Rebels will return to Oxford to join the Ole Miss coaching staff. #HottyToddy— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) January 6, 2018
Before landing in Eugene, he was an assistant under Mike MacIntyre’s staff in Boulder for four seasons before joining former coach Willie Taggart’s staff. He didn’t immediately join him in Tallahassee after he took the FSU job, so the window opened for Ole Miss to swoop in and bring back one of its own.
Clark began his coaching career at Duke in 2008, starting as a defensive quality control intern while also assisting the special teams coordinator and defensive assistant coaches. In 2009, he was promoted to a graduate assistant position assigned to the defense. During his time in Durham, he became friends and colleagues with Luke.
Before he coached, he was a player at Ole Miss in the early 2000’s. He was a four-year starter at Ole Miss and finished his career in Oxford with 198 tackles, 12 pass breakups, five fumble recoveries, and three interceptions in four years. He chose the University of Mississippi in a rather upset over big-time academic scholarships from Brown, Duke, and Vanderbilt. So the dude is a smart one.
During his time with the Buffaloes and the Ducks, he was able to recruit a top 150 player at safety while at Oregon and several three-stars ranging from defense to offense and from California to Georgia to the MACJC in the ‘ssip.
Clark’s secondary was a key cog in helping Colorado to the 2016 Pac-12 Conference South Division title. His third level finished 2nd in the league and 21st in the country in pass defense (193.6 yards per game) and tied for 3rd in the nation in passing yards allowed per attempt (5.7). In case you’re curious, I didn’t even have to look up whether or not those numbers were better than this past year’s numbers.
This past season in Eugene, his secondary was only 8th in the Pac 12 in pass defense but they snagged 15 interceptions. And they did finish 5th in pass defense efficiency.
It remains to be seen if he is replacing Wesley McGriff on the field as a specific position coach (he will most likely coach corners) which in turn would give Crime more time to focus on actually coordinating the entire defense. But, I would think that Clark will be in charge of the cornerbacks and Jason Jones will be in charge of safeties.
Remember, the assistant wallet that Luke has at his disposal is rather large so Clark could be just one of many additions to the staff. Either way, it is a nice addition both on the field and on the recruiting trail.