The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 12:30 am

Purdue targeting former Marshall DC to run defense

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Purdue will hire former Marshall defensive coordinator Brad Lambert as its new defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports. He will replace Bob Diaco, who was let go in December after only one season on the job.

Lambert, 56, was the head coach at Charlotte from 2011 to 2018, helping shepherd the 49ers into FBS, and was also the defensive coordinator at Wake Forest from 2008 to 2010. 

The Thundering Herd had one of the best defenses in the country in 2020, ranking No. 1 in scoring defense at 13 points per game, No. 2 in yards per game with 279.4 and No. 3 in yards per play at 4.4. Lambert was also a candidate to replace former Marshall head coach Doc Holliday when Holliday's contract was not renewed this offseason, but the job went to Alabama assistant coach Charles Huff instead.

Lambert will be Purdue's third defensive coordinator in three seasons and neither of the first two left for a better job. That's not a great record of success for coach Jeff Brohm on that side of the ball and with some pressure to really win likely on him for the first time in 2021, he'll need Lambert to stick around for a while (or perform so well he leaves for a better position). Lambert's hire comes on the heels of the hire of Mark Hagen as the defensive line coach Sunday and those two picks seem to signal that Purdue is looking at the cream of the crop as it tries to revamp its defense.

The Boilermakers have some talent on defense, namely All-Big Ten defensive end George Karlaftis, but gave up almost 30 points and 400 yards per game this season. Linebacker Derrick Barnes' departure for the NFL will hurt, but the Boilers have second-leading tackler Jaylan Alexander back at linebacker and ball-hawking corner Dedrick Mackey should return, as well. Karlaftis' younger brother, Yanni Karlaftis, will enter the program this season, as well, and is a four-star outside linebacker recruit.

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