The name floating around as the person to become the new Defensive Backs coach for Oregon St. is former Indianapolis Colts assistant Rod Perry. The official word from Oregon St. is that there will be no official word until late in the week, doubtless because negotiations and paperwork take time, and more so at OSU.
However, even though things could change, or collapse altogether, the statement that there will be some official word means something is in process, and its worth taking a look at who Perry is, especially since the initial reaction to his somewhat unfamiliar name is "Who?"
Perry, 58, is a former assistant under head coach Mike Riley at San Diego in the NFL, which is doubtless the initial and primary reason Riley, who is big on connections, is looking at him as the replacement for Keith Heyward, who left for the University of Washington last month.
Perry is originally from Fresno, CA, but played defensive back for now Pac-12 rival Colorado from 1972-74. A 4th. round pick in the NFL draft by the then Los Angeles Rams, Perry twice made the Pro Bowl while playing for the Rams from 1975 thru '82. Perry concluded his pro playing days with the Cleveland Brown in '83 and '84.
Perry's only college coaching experience came the next 4 years, the first at Columbia, then at Fresno City college, and finally for 2 years at Fresno St.
Since then, Perry has been a career NFL assistant, with the Seattle Seahawks in 1989-91, the L.A. Rams in 1992-94, the Houston Oilers in 1995 and 1996, the San Diego Chargers from 1997 thru 2001 (Riley retained him when he took over the Chargers before the 1999 season), all with the title "Defensive Backs Coach", and then the Carolina Panthers in 2002-06, as the "Secondary Coach", and finally with the Colts from 2008 thru 2011, as a "Special Assistant to the Defense".
The secondaries, and the defenses in general, Perry has coached have had mixed success, but its worth noting that he has never had a season when he wasn't coaching since his playing days ended. Every time a stay somewhere has ended (and in the assistant coaching business, that can happen having nothing to do with how you particular position group performed), someone else at a high level immediately found Perry to be an addition they wanted to make.
In the wake of the recent heated recruiting battles in the conference, which had as much to do with many of the coaching changes as on field performance did, the addition of any coach whose' college recruiting experience is limited or not recent, and Perry's certainly is, is an obvious reason for concern.
On the other hand, an understanding of what it takes to get to the next level is one of the primary factors top recruits are interested in. While the currently popular collegiate spread offenses aren't something Perry is experienced in dealing with, he has been looking at the best offensive talent in the world for most of the last 40 years.
Rumors about pay have hovered around the $200,000/year level, which if true would be a considerable step up from what Oregon St. paid Heyward, and more than what constituted a substantial raise that Washington is paying him.
We'll keep an eye on whether the Perry deal comes together in the days to come.