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Southern Miss promotes Dan O’Brien to defensive coordinator

Dan O'Brien
Photo courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics

Shortly after the announcement that Austin Armstrong was leaving Hattiesburg to work on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama, Southern Miss quickly announced a replacement to fill the vacant position.

Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger reported Saturday that USM is promoting safeties coach Dan O’Brien to step in as the team’s defensive coordinator.

After O’Brien arrived in Hattiesburg in 2021, the Golden Eagles jumped a nationwide-best 18 spots to No. 42 in total defense while ranking in the top 25 in six other defensive categories.

In 2022, amid a transition to a tougher conference in the Sun Belt, the Golden Eagles’ defense finished No. 59 nationally in total defense. The unit also ranked No. 4 in defensive touchdowns, No. 4 in tackles for loss, No. 5 in sacks, No. 7 in interceptions, and No. 25 in turnovers gained.

Under O’Brien’s leadership, Southern Miss defensive back Malik Shorts amassed a team-best 98 tackles and recorded three interceptions during his campaign to boost his draft status this past season.

Prior to joining Will Hall’s staff, O’Brien worked under some of the most respected coaches in the game in Bill Belichick (2005), Nick Saban (2007-2011), and Kirby Smart (2019-2021)

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