In choosing their next quarterbacks coach, the Dallas Cowboys stayed within the family.
A holdover from the Jason Garrett regime (one of the few who’s retained), Nussmeier had worked with Dallas’ TEs since 2018, after he defected from the University of Florida, where he served as offensive coordinator and QB coach.
Nussmeier, 49, is a former signal-caller himself who played for the New Orleans Saints (1994-97), Indianapolis Colts (1998) and the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (2000) before transitioning to coaching. The Lions made him QB coach for their 2001 season.
The next year, he held the same position with the Ottawa Renegades, then with Michigan State from 2003-05. He became something of a nomad afterward, coaching passers for the St. Louis Rams (2006-07), Fresno State (2008), Washington (2009-2011), Alabama (2012-13), Michigan (2014), and, finally, UF.
Additionally, Nussmeier doubled as the offensive coordinator during his time with the Bulldogs, Huskies, Crimson Tide, Wolverines and Gators.
Nussmeier will take over for Kitna, who joined the organization in 2019. Working in tandem with — and reportedly in opposition to — coordinator Kellen Moore, Kitna was key in helping coax a breakout year out of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who threw for a career-high 4,902 passing yards, one shy of tying the team’s all-time single-season record held by Tony Romo.
Nussmeier is the latest coaching change as newly-minted head man Mike McCarthy assembles his staff. According to recent media reports, the Cowboys have hired a new defensive coordinator (Mike Nolan), special teams coordinator (John Fassel), assistant head coach/offensive line coach (Joe Philbin), and defensive line coach (Jim Tomsula).
McCarthy, likely to handle offensive play-calling duties, also hopes to keep Moore on staff while heavily courting Texas run game coordinator Stan Drayton, who coached Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State.
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Richard Reportedly Out, Linguist In
The writing was on the wall for Cowboys passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach/de facto play-caller Kris Richard when he was told to explore outside opportunities, such as the Giants’ head-coaching vacancy that he interviewed for (and obviously didn’t get).
Now the writing’s on his pink slip, too. The Dallas Morning News reports Richard will not return to the club in 2020. The Cowboys are bringing aboard Texas A&M’s Maurice Linguist as the new secondary coach.
A Texas native, Linguist played defensive back for Baylor from 2003-06, notching 93 combined tackles, three pass breakups, three interceptions and two forced fumbles across 42 career appearances. As a coach, he’s bounced from Minnesota to Mississippi State to Iowa State before landing in College Station on Jimbo Fisher’s staff.
The Aggies finished 41st among 130 NCAA programs in passing yards allowed in 2019, surrendering 209.5 yards per game through the air.
Linguist inherits a talented but severely underachieving back end in Dallas, who ranked 10th overall in pass defense (223.5 YPG) and whose DBs totaled just five of the team’s seven interceptions. The Cowboys’ secondary might undergo a makeover this offseason as star cornerback Byron Jones and starting safety Jeff Heath are scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency.
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