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Tem Lukabu in as BC Defensive Coordinator

NFL: OCT 13 Bengals at Ravens Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jeff Hafley is rounding out his staff today as Tem Lukabu comes in as defensive coordinator. Lukabu, similar to Cignetti, has been around the block at both levels. He spent this past season as linebackers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, and was at Mississippi State the previous season in the same role.

It’s a bit of a reunion, as Lukabu has worked with both Hafley and Cignetti in the past. Lukabu was with the San Francisco 49ers for 2016 and 2017 as a defensive assistant, overlapping Hafley’s time there under Chip Kelly and Kyle Shanahan, staying on through both staffs. Lukabu and Hafley were also with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2012-13. Lukabu was a defensive assistant there as well. All three coaches worked at Rutgers in 2011 under Greg Schiano, with Lukabu working with linebackers.

Lukabu’s only defensive coordinator experience comes from Fordham University, where he coached on Joe Moorhead’s staff. His most recent college experience was as a linebackers coach at Mississippi State in 2018 (also with Moorhead). In 2015, Lukabu was the defensive line coach at Florida Atlantic, and was a linebackers coach at his alma mater, Colgate University, the year prior. He began his coaching career at Rutgers in 2006 and had a brief stint at the University of Rhode Island for two years before returning to Rutgers in 2010.

It’s interesting to see Hafley bring in someone with little full on coordinator experience. Likely, Hafley himself will be placing his own footprint on how the secondary operates, and therefore mostly required someone with more experience with the defensive front which Lukabu provides. It may have been difficult bringing in others because of differing philosophies. Regardless, it’s tough to have any staunch opinions just yet. For now, these are two incredibly important hires as the rest of the coaching staff gets finalized, and they’ll need all hands on deck to keep up on the recruiting front.