Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dolphins hire Jim Turner as offensive line coach

A few days after the Miami Dolphins added two new assistant coaches and retained three others, head coach Joe Philbin continues to round out his staff with the hiring of Jim Turner as offensive line coach.

Turner, who was named the offensive line coach at Texas Tech roughly six weeks ago, spent the past four seasons in the same capacity under Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman, who was recently hired as the Dolphins' offensive coordinator. He replaces Dave DeGuglielmo, who joined Tony Sparano on Rex Ryan's staff with the Jets.

The Dolphins' staff now has a healthy representation of former Aggies, as Sherman and Turner are joined by new assistant quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, who is Sherman's son-in-law and a former graduate assistant and tight ends coach at Texas A&M. Tight ends coach Dan Campbell also played for the Aggies before being drafted by the Giants in 1999.

In all, Philbin has hired five new assistants while retaining a handful of others. Positions that likely remain vacant include quarterbacks coach, where Karl Dorrell is not expected to return; wide receivers, where Steve Bush is moving on; and both quality control positions.


Background

A Massachusetts native, Turner spent four seasons (1983-86) as a fullback at Boston College and the next two years as an assistant high school football coach. From 1990 to 1994, Turner served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps in Europe, the Middle East, and Japan.

Upon his return to the United States, spent five years as an assistant coach at Northeastern, with duties including offensive line/tight ends (1994-95), running backs (1996), and defensive line (1997-98).

Turner then bounced around over the next decade, working as an offensive line coach at Louisiana Tech in 1999 and offensive line coach/run game coordinator at Harvard for three years. He was then the offensive line coach at Temple (2003-04) and Delaware (2005-06), while also holding the title of assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator at Delaware in 2006.

After joining Mike Sherman's staff in 2008, Turner helped the Aggies become ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since 1999. Turner's unit allowed just eight sacks in 2011 as likely first-round quarterback Ryan Tannehill guided A&M to a 9-4 record and a Cotton Bowl berth. However, Sherman and his staff were let go on Dec. 1.


Analysis

It's a bit hard to evaluate Turner on his resume, as he doesn't have a history of sending college linemen to the pros. He does however have a good reputation at the college level and one could argue that the production he got out of his linemen at A&M when there weren't many elite prospects among them is a sign of his coaching abilities.

Turner will certainly have his hands full in Miami, as second-year center Mike Pouncey still needs a lot of development and the entire right side of the line is going to be completely overhauled with veteran free agents Vernon Carey and Marc Colombo unlikely to return to due age and ineffectiveness.

It will be interesting to see how Turner does in his first pro coaching stint, but he's certainly paid his dues and the familiarity will help him. Sherman obviously knows him and has confidence in his abilities as a coach, and Philbin's background is on the offensive line as well so it's certainly a unit that's going to get all the attention is it needs from the coaching staff.


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