UConn football is set to hire the team’s first defensive coordinator of the Jim Mora era, selecting Mississippi State’s Matt Brock, according to Pete Thamel of ESPN.
Sources: UConn is set to hire Matt Brock as the school’s new defensive coordinator. He was DC at Mississippi State last year and has worked at Washington State, Bowling Green and Texas Tech.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) February 9, 2024
Since Jim Mora was hired two years ago, UConn football has relied heavily upon committee coaching, which includes the Defensive Coordinator position. However, this has been the offseason of expansion for the program, with hires at General Manager (Eddie Hernon), Director of Player Personnel (Jeremiah Bogan), and Strength and Conditioning Director (Tyson Brown). Now, UConn will add a fourth new coach, poaching Matt Brock from the SEC.
Out of the 133 FBS teams in collegiate football, here are how the two teams ranked comparatively in many of the prominent defensive metrics:
Points Allowed Per Game
Mississippi State: 75th (28.4 PPG)
UConn: 106th (32.3 PPG)
Yards Allowed Per Game
Mississippi State: 44th (363.5 YPG)
UConn: 111th (425.3)
First Downs Allowed Per Game
Mississippi State: 50th (19.1)
UConn: 112th (22.4)
Third Down Conversion Percentage Allowed
Mississippi State: 28th (33.99%)
UConn: 113th (44.44%)
It is worth noting also that Mississippi State was competing against SEC competition, which held the top offense statistically in all of college football this season in Louisiana State University. While Mississippi State was not exceptional this season, finishing 5-7 with a 1-7 in-conference record. They would end up second to last in the SEC West, ahead of only Arkansas and behind Auburn.
Brock has coached football since 2011, starting off with the Baker University Wildcats from 2011-2012 as a Graduate Assistant. He would move on to Texas Tech from 2013-2015, starting as a Defensive Quality Control Coach before moving on to be the Inside Linebackers Coach. He would go to three more teams between 2016 and 2022, beginning with Bowling Green from 2016-2017 as the Special Teams Coordinator & Linebackers Coach, before moving to Washington State as the same role (with the exception of changing to Outside Linebackers Coach) from 2018-2019, and then to his current spot. He would start off at Mississippi State in 2020 with his previous role as the Special Teams Coordinator & Outside Linebackers Coach, before moving up to Linebackers Coach, and then eventually Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach in 2023.
Back in 2017, he was also a nominee for the Broyles Award, which is given to the top assistant coach in the nation. He has seen quick promotion as of late and should be able to help immensely with the defensive playcalling duties for UConn football. He could also be critical in the further development of newly acquired transfer linebacker Julien Simon, due to his history with the linebacker position as a coach.