It was inevitable that UND defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt was going to leave UND at some point to move up the coaching ladder. Well, that time came Monday when we broke the news that Schmidt was hired by Fresno State as their new defensive line/special teams coordinator.
Breaking: We have been told that UND DC Eric Schmidt has accepted the DL/Special Teams job at Fresno State. @BarkBoard
— UNDFootball360 (@UNDFootball360) January 6, 2020
The Mandan native coached with new FSU head coach Kalen Deboer at Southern Illinois from 2010-2013 when Deboer was the OC and Schmidt was a linebackers coach. Schmidt coached special teams at Southern Illinois, as well, meaning the hire does make sense in all ways. Not to mention it will come with a significant pay increase – the MWC actually pays their football coaches quite well.
Schmidt’s UND defenses from 2014-2019 were always a tough-minded, competitive unit that liked to bring pressure from all angles. They typically ranked high in TFL’s and sacks while being good vs. run. The unit peaked in 2016 when UND gave up 91.5 rushing yards per game and only six rushing TD’s, while also snaring 20 INT’s.
Schmidt was also regarded as the Hawks best recruiter so bringing in somebody who wants to be a dog on the recruiting trail will be of importance.
We are told that the Bulldogs will employ a 4-2-5 scheme, which will be a deviation from the 3-4 that Schmidt played in & coached his entire career. Fresno has named William Inge as their new defensive coordinator – Inge was on the Indiana staff alongside Deboer this past season.
This is definitely a loss for the UND program as Schmidt was a former All-American linebacker for the Fighting Sioux and loves the university and the Grand Forks community deeply.
So which route does UND take with their defensive coordinator search? In house, Bubba Schweigert has newly hired linebacker coach Brett Holinka, safeties coach Joel Schwenzfeier and cornerbacks coach Travis Stepps still on the defensive staff. The only one who has coordinator experience is Holinka with one year at U of Mary.
The new coach would certainly need defensive line experience and if not, would need linebacker experience for sure.
It will be interesting to see if UND continues to recruit Colorado, as that was Schmidt’s territory and one that he opened up upon his arrival in 2014. Schmidt also recruited North Dakota and western/northern Minnesota meaning Schweigert will need to strategically fill that role with somebody who knows the lay of the land, so to speak.
We see Schweigert opening it up and seeing what comes in but while also having several names in the back of his mind. We will expand on that more in the near future.