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Purdue Football
Purdue Football

DEFENSIVE COACHING


Nick Holt
Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers

Nick Holt is in his first season as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. He was hired Jan. 2, 2017.

Holt rejoins head coach Jeff Brohm's staff in West Lafayette after coaching Western Kentucky to a 51-31 victory over Memphis as interim head coach.

Prior to being elevated to the interim role, Holt served as the Hilltoppers' associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2013 to 2016. A veteran of 31 years of coaching experience, including two as a head coach and 16 as a defensive coordinator, Holt has coached in 15 bowl games, including seven BCS bowls, was on the USC coaching staff that won the 2003 national championship and five Trojan Pacific-10 title staffs.

Under Holt's guidance, the Hilltoppers improved their scoring defense from 121st nationally in 2014 (39.9) to 41st in 2016 (24.6), their total defense from 120th (509.9) to 41st (376.6) and their rushing defense from 111th (220.8) to third (97.2) among FBS schools. In his first season at WKU, the Hilltoppers ranked 15th nationally in total defense (339.2) and 10th in passing defense (177.9).

In his position group at Western Kentucky, senior linebacker Keith Brown was named first team All-Conference USA in 2016 after racking up 131 tackles, including 60 solo, 13 for loss and six sacks, with nine pass breakups, two interceptions and a fumble recovered. Sophomore Joel Iyiegbuniwe and junior T.J. McCollum were named honorable mention All-C-USA in 2016, with Iyiegbuniwe tallying 64 tackles, including 10 for loss and 3.5 sacks, and McCollum finishing third on the team with 85 stops, including four for loss. Senior Nick Holt was named first team All-C-USA in 2015 after recording 90 tackles, including 7.5 for loss and four sacks. In 2013, Xavius Boyd had a career season and was named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year, giving WKU the award in consecutive seasons (also Quanterus Smith in 2012). The 2013 Hilltoppers also had a conference-best four players named first team All-SBC: Bar'ee Boyd, Xavius Boyd, Jonathan Dowling and Cam Thomas.

Prior to joining WKU, Holt spent three seasons (2009-11) at Washington as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. The Huskies played in the 2011 Alamo Bowl and the 2010 Holiday Bowl, defeating heavily favored Big 12 North champions Nebraska 19-7 in the Holiday. In his first season, Washington cut its scoring defense by nearly 12 points per game (from 38.6 in 2008 to 26.7 in 2009) and its total defense from 451.8 yards per game in 2008 to 389.5 in 2009. The Huskies finished second in the Pac-10 in passing defense in 2010, allowing 194.4 yards per game.

Holt has had two stints at USC, serving three seasons as the defensive coordinator and line coach (2006-08) and three seasons as linebackers coach (2001-03). During his six combined seasons with the Trojans, USC posted an overall record of 63-14, a Pac-10 record of 41-10, won the 2003 BCS national championship, four Rose Bowls (2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008) and one Orange Bowl (2002). With Holt as the coordinator, the 2006 Trojans finished the season ranked 20th in total defense (295.8), 11th in scoring defense (15.2) and tied for ninth in rushing defense (91.1). In 2008, USC led the nation in scoring defense, allowing a paltry 9.0 points per game while holding eight opponents to seven points or less with three shutouts. The 2008 Trojans paced the NCAA in passing defense (134.3) total defense (221.8) and in passing efficiency defense (85.75) while ranking second by allowing 221.8 yards of total offense per game, the lowest total by a Pac-10 school since 1971.

In between stints at USC, Holt was the head coach at Idaho during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, posting a 5-18 record. He previously had served as the Vandals' defensive coordinator and linebackers coach (1994-97) and defensive line and recruiting coordinator (1990-93). The Vandals made five appearances in the Division I-AA playoffs and had the No. 1-ranked rushing defense in 1994.

Holt also has served as the defensive line coach at Louisville (1998-2000) and as the inside linebackers coach (1988-89) and as a graduate assistant (1986-87) at UNLV. With the Cardinals, Holt developed a defensive line that finished second in the nation and broke the school record with 50 sacks. The 2000 team finished second nationally in rushing defense (79.9), went 9-3, won the Conference USA title with a 6-1 record and played in the Liberty Bowl. Louisville also played in the 1998 Motor City Bowl and 1999 Humanitarian Bowl.

Holt has coached/recruited five conference defensive players of the year: Jeff Robinson (1992 Idaho, Big Sky), Ryan Phillips (1995 Idaho, Big Sky), Dwayne White (2001 Louisville, Conference USA), Sedrick Ellis (2006 USC, Pacific-10) and Xavius Boyd (2013 Western Kentucky, Sun Belt).

A native of San Jose, California, Holt was a four-year letterwinner and two-time team captain and Most Valuable Player as a linebacker at the University of Pacific. He was named to the Associated Press All-West Coast team in 1984 and 1985 and an honorable mention All-American in 1985. He graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in political economics.

Holt (born Oct. 15, 1962) and his wife, Julie, have two sons, Nick and Ben.
 
Athony Poindexter
Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary

Anthony Poindexter is in his first season as the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach. He was hired Jan. 2, 2017.

Poindexter came to Purdue after three seasons (2014-16) as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Connecticut. Previous to his stay at UConn, he spent 12 seasons at Virginia, his alma mater, in a variety of roles. He has coached in six bowl games, including the 2007 Gator Bowl and the 2011 Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

In 2016, Poindexter coached Senior Bowl-bound safety Obi Melifonwu to All-American Athletic Conference honors. Melifonwu finished the season with a team-high 118 tackles, including 73 solo, while also leading the Huskies with four interceptions. UConn finished the season ranked seventh in the nation in red zone defense (73 percent).

During the 2015 season, Poindexter directed a unit that finished the season ranked seventh in the nation in red zone defense (73 percent), 15th in scoring defense (19.5), 20th in passing defense (189.3) and 33rd in total defense (355.1). Senior safety Andrew Adams was named second team All-AAC after leading the Huskies with 103 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, and three interceptions.

Poindexter got his start in collegiate coaching as a graduate assistant at Virginia in 2003 before being elevated to running backs coach in 2004. He served as Cavaliers' running backs/assistant special teams coach from 2006 to 2008, defensive backs/assistant special teams coach in 2009, safeties and special teams coordinator from 2010 to 2012 and safeties coach in 2013.

In 2013, Poindexter coached Sports Illustrated All-American safety Anthony Harris to first-team All-ACC honors after leading the nation with eight interceptions. Harris amassed 80 tackles, including 42 solo, 3.5 for loss and one sack, with six pass breakups and one forced fumble.

Poindexter's defensive backs limited the opposition to merely a 53.7 passing completion rate in 2011, ranked 21st in the nation in passing defense in 2009 (184.6 yards per game) and saw second team All-ACC safety Ras-I Dowling and cornerback Chris Cook selected in the second round of the National Football League Draft by the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings, respectively.

As running backs coach at Virginia, Poindexter coached Cedric Peerman, a seven-year NFL veteran, to 1,749 career rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. Peerman was an honorable mention All-ACC selection in 2008 and played in the 2009 Senior Bowl.

An outstanding player in his own right, Poindexter was a two-time consensus All-American (1997 and 1998) and the 1998 ACC Defensive Player of the year as a safety for the Cavaliers. He is one of only three players in ACC history to be named all-conference three times. He was named the 1998 Brian Piccolo Award winner, presented to the ACC's most courageous football player. A hard-hitter compared with Ronnie Lott, Poindexter finished his collegiate career with 342 tackles, ninth in school history. His No. 3 jersey was retired by Virginia in 2009.

Despite tearing his ACL during his senior season, Poindexter was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft and was a member of the Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV championship team.

Poindexter graduated from Virginia in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

Poindexter (born July 28, 1976) and his wife, Kimberly, have three children: Morocca, Anthony Jr. and Chloe.
 
Derrick Jackson
Cornerbacks

Derrick Jackson is in his first season as the cornerbacks coach. He was hired Jan. 23, 2017.

Jackson came to Purdue after spending the previous five seasons at Wake Forest (2012-16) in a variety of positions. He served as cornerbacks coach from 2014 to 2016, defensive backs coach in 2013 and as outside linebackers coach in 2012. He also oversaw the field goal/PAT block units from 2014 to 2016. Wake Forest blocked a total of seven kicks over three seasons.

The 2016 Demon Deacons defeated Temple 34-26 to win the Military Bowl, finishing the season tied for ninth nationally in turnovers gained (27), 18th in third-down defense (34.1 percent), tied for 22nd in red zone defense (77.8 percent) and 23rd in scoring defense (22.2). Redshirt freshman Amari Henderson, a first team All-Freshman Atlantic Coast Conference selection by Athlon Sports, tied for seventh in the conference with 10 passes defended.

Junior cornerback Brad Watson was named honorable mention All-ACC in 2015 after finishing the season ranked eighth nationally and first in the conference with 18 passes defended.

Jackson's 2014 corners helped the Demon Deacons rank 12th nationally in fewest passing yards per game (186.6) and surrender merely 12 touchdown passes, which tied for sixth. Seniors Kevin Johnson and Merrill Noel were named second and third team All-ACC , respectively, and finished their careers third and fifth in ACC history in passes defended. Johnson was selected with the 16th overall pick by the Houston Texans in the first round of the 2015 National Football League Draft.

In 2013, Jackson's first season working with the secondary, Wake Forest had its passing defense improve 49 spots from 100th to 51st (267 to 223) and its scoring defense improve 53 spots from 91st to 38th (31.8 to 24.1), while finishing 32nd in the nation in total defense (366.2). Johnson's junior season ended with him ranked 22nd nationally and third in the ACC with 15 passes defended. Johnson and freshman safety Ryan Janvion were named honorable mention All-ACC, with Janvion receiving second team Freshman All-America recognition from College Football News after leading the Demon Deacons with 95 tackles.

With Jackson as outside linebackers coach in 2012, Wake Forest had its sack total improve from 11 (115th nationally) in 2011 to 25 (55th) and its tackles for loss per game average go from 5.2 the previous season (82nd) to 6.3 (41st). Justin Jackson led the Demon Deacons in tackles (80), tied for the team lead with 4.0 sacks and was second with 8.5 tackles for loss. Joey Ehrmann topped the team with 9.5 tackles for loss, tied for third with 3.5 sacks and eighth in total tackles (49).

Prior to Wake Forest, Jackson spent one season apiece as the defensive line coach at Rice (2011) and Akron (2010). The Owls' defense improved in sacks, turnovers gained and red zone defense in his lone seasons on staff. Defensive end Scott Solomon, Rice's career sacks leader, finished the 2011 season ranked 21st in the nation with 8.5 sacks. The Zips had their run defense and sack total improve in 2010, with defensive end Shawn Lemon, who finished first in the Mid-American Conference and fourth nationally with four fumbles recovered, fourth in the MAC in fumbles caused (3) and seventh in the MAC in sacks (7), earning second team all-conference honors.

From 2007 to 2009, Jackson coached the defensive line at Syracuse, including serving as co-defensive coordinator in 2008. In 2009, the Orangemen tied for sixth in the nation with 35 sacks, ranked 13th in rushing defense (101.8) and tied for 16th with 85 tackles for loss. Defensive tackle Arthur Jones, a fifth-round selection by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2010 NFL Draft, thrived under the direction of Jackson. Jones earned first team All-Big East recognition in 2009 and 2008 and second team honors in 2007. He finished his career third in Syracuse history with 38.5 tackles for loss and was named a third team All-American by College Football News in 2009. As a sophomore, Jones recorded 17.5 tackles for loss, which ranked ninth nationally and third in a season at Syracuse. Chandler Jones, a 2012 first-round selection by the New England Patriots, earned first team All-Big East freshman honors from The Sporting News and Rivals.com.

Jackson served as defensive line coach at Michigan State in 2006. The Spartans limited the opposition to eight rushing touchdowns that season, and defensive tackle Cliff Ryan was named honorable mention All-Big Ten.

In 2005, Jackson helped Northern Illinois win a share of the MAC West title and a spot in the conference championship game. Defensive tackle Quince Holman was named first team All-MAC.

Prior to NIU, Jackson spent two seasons at Eastern Illinois (2003-04) as defensive line coach. He helped lead tackle Marcus Lorick to second team All-America recognition from the Associated Press and first team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors in 2004. Defensive end Kory Lothe, who was named second team All-OVC in 2004, led the conference in sacks that season. Lorick and Lothe were named second team all-conference in 2003.

While coaching defensive ends at the United States Military Academy in 2001 and 2002, Brandon Perdue earned first team Academic All-America recognition in 2001, and Clarence Holmes broke the then-school-record with 7.0 sacks the same season.

Jackson got his start in collegiate coaching at State University of West Georgia in 1999, coaching the tight ends for two seasons. He additionally served NFL fellowships with the Miami Dolphins (2001) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002).

A four-year letterwinner at Duke as a defensive back, Jackson started 40 consecutive games and finished his career ranked eighth in school history in tackles. He twice was named the team's most outstanding defensive back and was a member of the Blue Devils' 1989 ACC co-championship and All-American Bowl team.

A native of Cincinnati, Jackson (born Jan. 16, 1970) graduated from Duke in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in history. He and his wife Renae, have twin children, Alana Mae and Dakota John. Renae, also a Duke graduate, was a standout long jumper for the Blue Devils, leaving as the school's all-time leader in the event in both outdoor (now second) and indoor (now third) competition.

Reggie Johnson
Defensive Line

Reggie Johnson is in his first season as the defensive line coach. He was hired Jan. 2, 2017.

Johnson joined the Boilermakers after spending the 2016 season at Western Kentucky, where he coached the defensive ends. The Hilltoppers' four primary defensive ends racked up 98 tackles, including 22 for loss and 11 sacks, with six pass breakups, two fumbles recovered and an interception. Senior Nick Dawson-Brents led the way with 37 tackles, while topping the team with seven sacks and ranking third on the team with 11 tackles for loss.

Before his lone season at WKU, Johnson spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator, linebackers and defensive line coach at Alabama A&M (2014-15), two seasons as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Alabama-Birmingham (2012-13) and four seasons as the linebackers coach at Arkansas (2008-11). Previously, he served four seasons as the linebackers coach (2004-07), one season as the defensive line coach (2003) and two years as a graduate assistant (1997-98) at Louisville, his alma mater. He had a three-year stint at Alabama A&M, where he served as special teams coordinator and defensive coach (1998-99) and inside linebackers coach (2000) and also spent two seasons at UTEP as defensive ends (2001) and linebackers (2002) coach.

Johnson has coached in eight bowl games, including the 2005 Gator Bowl, 2006 Orange Bowl, 2010 Sugar Bowl and 2011 Cotton Bowl.

In 2012 at UAB, Johnson saw senior linebacker Marvin Burdette set school game, season and career records for tackles with 24, 157 and 406, respectively. Burdette was named All-Conference USA.

During his four seasons at Arkansas, linebacker Jerry Franklin became the first Razorback to lead the team in tackles four straight seasons since 1957 to 1960. Franklin was a Freshman All-American and named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2008, and ranked sixth in the SEC with a career-high 101 tackles as a senior.

In 2003 at Louisville, Johnson helped mentor future All-American, Nagurski and Hendricks Award winner Elvis Dumerville, as well as freshman and future first-round selection Amobi Okoye. Dummerville has gone on to a pro football career that has seen him selected to the Pro Bowl five times and set the Baltimore Ravens' franchise record for sacks in a season with 17. Okoye, who was the youngest player ever drafted at the age of 19, played six seasons in the National Football League with the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears and now is a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League. Okoye was selected by the Texans with the 10th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.

Johnson was a four-year letterwinner as a linebacker at Louisville from 1987 to 1990. As a senior, he played on a team that went 10-1-1, including a 34-7 victory over Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. He finished his career with 252 tackles.

Johnson graduated from Louisville in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in political science and earned a master's degree in education from Louisville in 1998.

Johnson (born April 14, 1969) and his wife, Eulice, have two children, Sydney and Jordan.
 
Dan Rowe
Defensive Quality Control


Dan Rowe is in his first season as defensive quality control. He was hired Feb. 21, 2017.

Prior to joining the Boilermakers, Rowe spent the 2016 season as a defensive graduate assistant at Washington State. The Cougars went 8-5 and played in the Holiday Bowl.

Before his lone season at WSU, Rowe spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as a defensive graduate assistant at Western Kentucky University under current Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm. The Hilltoppers went a combined 20-7 overall, including victories in the 2014 Bahamas Bowl, 2015 Conference USA championship game and 2015 Miami Beach Bowl, with Rowe on staff. WKU’s scoring defense improved from 39.8 points per game (120th in the Football Bowl Subdivision) in 2014 to 25.9 (50th) in 2015, while finishing second in the nation with 31 turnovers created in his final year as a GA.

Previous to WKU, Rowe served one season as the assistant offensive line coach at Northern Michigan (2013), one season as a defensive and special teams graduate assistant at Wyoming (2012) and two seasons as a defensive assistant and video coordinator at Yale (2010-11).

A 2010 cum laude graduate from the University of New Hampshire, Rowe earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology: sports studies, with a minor in education. He began his coaching career as an undergraduate student assistant with the Wildcats.
 
Joe Montag
Defensive Graduate Assistant

Joe Montag is in his second season as a defensive graduate assistant. He joined the Boilermakers after 18 months as a defensive assistant at Miami (Fla.), where he worked with current Purdue defensive line coach Randy Melvin.

Montag graduated with honors from Bridgewater College in 2014 with a degree in exercise science, focused more on the performance side than the rehabilitation side, while minoring in coaching. He severed as a student assistant for the football team.

Montag earned a master's in sports administration from Miami in 2015.
 
Sean Robinson
Defensive Graduate Assistant

Former Purdue player Sean Robinson is in his second season as a defensive graduate assistant.

Robinson lettered with the Boilermakers in 2010 and from 2012 to 2014. Originally signed as a quarterback, he switched to linebacker during the spring of 2012. Appearing in 35 career games with 22 starts, Robinson wrapped up his collegiate career with 116 tackles, including 5.5 for losses and a sack. He was voted a captain by his teammates his senior season.

A native of Springfield, Illinois, Robinson earned his bachelor's degree in organizational leadership from Purdue in 2015. He spent the 2015 season as a graduate assistant at Central Michigan.