Steelers Should Consider Hiring Hal Hunter Jr. As Their Next Offensive Line Coach
The Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to hire an offensive line coach to replace the outgoing Sean Kugler, who left to take the head coaching job at UTEP, and it is assumed that head coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert and offensive coordinator Todd Haley are hard at work at narrowing down the candidates for the job.
Should the Steelers decide to add more elements of the stretch zone to their blocking scheme in 2013 they should consider Hal Hunter Jr., who was let go by the San Diego Chargers just recently, as a potential candidate.
Hunter Jr. has ties to the Steelers organization as his father, Hall Hunter Sr., was once an assistant coach for the Steelers from 1985-88. Hunter Jr. was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and was also once the offensive line coach at the University of Pittsburgh from 1983–84 in addition.
Hunter Jr. also has something in common with Tomlin as well as he was once the outside linebackers and strength coach at William and Mary, the alma mater of Tomlin.
Heading into the 2012 season Hunter Jr. was in charge of a Chargers offensive line that had allowed the NFL’s fifth-lowest sack total (171), while averaging 1,907 rushing yards per season and scoring 115 touchdowns on the ground since his hiring. That all took a turn for the worse this past season as the Chargers offensive line was decimated by injuries, late in the season specifically, and it resulted in quarterback Philip Rivers being sacked a career high 49 times in total.
Hunter is able to coach both the man/power and zone/stretch blocking schemes which would be an asset for the Steelers young athletic offensive line, should the team decide to go in that direction.
At the time of this post there have been no names linked by the Pittsburgh media as serious candidates for the vacant position. It was reported, however, by Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network that former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo had interest from the Steelers for the job. Castillo, however, has since been hired as a run-game coordinator by the Baltimore Ravens.