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Virginia targeting Purdue, Navy assistants for defensive coaching staff

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Brad Lambert (Photo: purduesports.com)

According to Football Scoop, Tony Elliott has his eyes on luring Purdue co-defensive coordinator Brad Lambert to join his new Virginia coaching staff.

Sources also told the publication that Elliott is also looking at Navy defensive coordinator Brian Newberry as a possibility for the staff. The only three positions filled thus far are Marques Hagans, Clint Sintim and Garett Tujague, all retained from former UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall’s staff.

Apparently, Lambert, the former head coach at Charlotte (2011-18), is Elliott’s primary target. He has only been with Purdue for one season, where he was the Boilermakers’ defensive play-caller for a unit that helped beat Tennessee, 48-45 (overtime), in the Music City Bowl over the weekend.

Prior to joining Purdue, Lambert was Marshall’s defensive coordinator. The Thundering Herd led all FBS defenses in 2020 in scoring defense (13 points per game), and was second nationally in total defense (279.4), third in red-zone defense (66.7 percent) and fourth in rushing defense (95.5).

Lambert started the Charlotte program from scratch and went on to guide the 49ers for eight seasons. He was also a member of Wake Forest’s staff for 10 years under Jim Grobe, with the Deacons winning the ACC Championship in 2008 with an 11-3 record, including a spot in the Orange Bowl.

Prior to his decade at Wake, Lambert spent 11 seasons with Jim Donnan at Marshall (1990-95) and Georgia (1996-2000).

Brian Newberry (navysports.com)

Newberry has been Navy’s defensive coordinator and safeties coach for three seasons. In the Midshipmen’s 2019 season, one of the greatest campaigns in program history, Navy finished 10th nationally in rush defense and 39th in passing defense.

He was a semifinalist for the Frank Broyles Award that season. Prior to his stint at Navy, Newberry was defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Kennesaw State (2015-18), helping the Owls to the FCS quarterfinals his last two seasons.

Elliott reportedly has targeted Atlanta Falcons’ running backs coach Des Kitchings for the Cavaliers’ offensive coordinator spot.

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