Bret Bielema previews staff changes after key departures following 2022 season
Bret Bielema has been dealing with some staff turnover following the 2022 season.
Ryan Walters — Bielema’s highly-regarded defensive coordinator each of the past two seasons — left for the head coaching job at Purdue. In the aftermath, a few assistants left to be a part of that staff in West Lafayette.
While Bielema already knows who his next DC will be in Aaron Henry, Illinois still has some key vacancies in the coaching staff. Bielema previewed his plans for some of those roles during a Thursday press conference for the ReliaQuest Bowl.
Bielema actually said he’ll name a new defensive backs coach to replace Henry’s position in the coming days but it will be a longer wait for this RB and LB coach positions. Some of Bielema’s targets are involved in the NFL, so a decision on those positions may have to wait.
“I’ll actually name a DB coach in the next days. Literally the day I made the transition, I knew who I was going to hire,” Bielema revealed. “It’s actually somebody I interviewed before in the original process that I didn’t get to. That one kind of has been sitting on ready. When he joins us, he’ll be more of an analyst, eyes in the sky on game day.
“Like I said, I’ll fill the defensive back position very quickly, but I’m going to wait to hire my running back and my outside linebacker job until after the bowl game. There’s some NFL people involved as well, so I may wait actually till later January till the NFL season is done.”
We’ll see who Bielema goes with down the road, but it should be an interesting makeup for the Illini coaching staff in 2023.