The Chicago Bears Defensive Line Is In Good Hands


Sep 28, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Paul Pasqualoni talks to the defense on the bench during the first half against the Buffalo Bulls at University of Buffalo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

In order to improve on their historically bad performance up front on defense in 2013, the Chicago Bears made changes to their coaching staff.  Smart ones too.

Clint Hurtt has Calaise Campbell among his success stories

Part of knowing whether one is a good coach or not is judging what they do when it’s clear they have talent at their fingertips.  New defensive line coaches Clint Hurtt and Paul Pasqualoni have long histories of such success.  For Hurtt, his foray into line coaching started at Miami of Florida in 2006.  The program cranked out a few solid players but Hurtt saved his best for last when in 2009, his final year with the Hurricanes, he helped make a young defensive end named Calaise Campbell into a 2nd round draft pick.  Campbell has since become one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL.  Then, ironically in his last year with Louisville before joining the Chicago Bears, he turned Marcus Smith into the best pass rusher in the NCAA with 14.5 sacks in 2013.  Smith became a 1st round pick of Philadelphia.

Paul Pasqualoni molded Dwight Freeney

To think that Hurtt is actually the assistant is a testament to whom the Bears put in charge of their defensive front in Paul Pasqualoni.  The 64-year old coach has been at since 1972.  He knows the game inside and out and has coached all levels of the defense.  However, the line remains a specialty for him.  As head coach at Syracuse he put forth a lot of talent, including a young man named Dwight Freeney.  Drafted by the Colts in the 1st round, he has since collected 108 sacks and a Super Bowl ring.  Later when Pasqualoni took over in Connecticut, the surprising success continued.  Among his most intriguing talent is Kendall Reyes of the San Diego Chargers who has posted five sacks in each of his past two seasons.

What makes the combination the Chicago Bears have hired so intriguing is how different they are.  Paul Pasqualoni is from the old school, bringing the experience and no-nonsense approach.  Clint Hurtt is only 35 and revered as a player’s coach, energetic and able to connect on a personal level.  Their contrasting style may just be what the team needs to unlock the vast potential circulating their retooled defensive line.