Football

Shafer excited about addition of ‘hard-nosed’ Bullough as defensive coordinator

Scott Shafer announced his first move as Syracuse’s head coach Friday, hiring Chuck Bullough as the Orange’s defensive coordinator.

When Shafer was Western Michigan’s defensive coordinator, Bullough was his linebackers coach for the 2005 season. Shafer said at his introductory press conference Friday that Bullough shares his values and is familiar with Shafer’s defensive philosophy and schemes.

“There’s only a handful of people in the business that you trust like a brother. There’s a lot that you respect, but there’s only a handful that you trust,” Shafer said. “The highs and lows of all the years being a coach, the guys that got your back all the way through and those are usually the guys that you have an opportunity to work with.”

Bullough said in a statement that he and Shafer connected immediately at Western Michigan, and he’s excited to continue that at SU.

“The game of football is about enthusiasm, integrity and toughness,” Bullough said in the statement. “Coach Shafer and I grew up in the game of football with our fathers and coaches. We were taught from a young age to enjoy and respect the game. From just about the moment we met at Western Michigan, we had an instant connection because of our philosophy and values.”

Bullough spent the last two seasons as a defensive assistant for the Cleveland Browns, who had the No. 5 defense in the AFC last season.

Before working for Cleveland, Bullough was UCLA’s defensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010. He also worked on the coaching staffs at Michigan State, Lake Forest College and the Chicago Bears.

The Bruins’ defense struggled in 2010 under Bullough, finishing the season 108th in the nation against the run and 116th against the pass. Then-head coach Rick Neuheisel fired Bullough at the end of the season, but said at the time Bullough was a 4-3 coach and UCLA’s players didn’t fit the scheme.

Syracuse runs a 4-3. Shafer said Friday he will help out on defense, but will give control to Bullough.

“I will also keep my hand in the scheme, especially on the defensive side of the football,” Shafer said. “Chuck and I have been together and we come from the same sort of scheme as well as philosophical viewpoint. That’s how we’re going to go about it.”

Bullough was a two-time All-Big Ten Conference linebacker at Michigan State before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the eighth round of the 1992 NFL Draft. He spent time with the Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts, before returning to Michigan State as a defensive backs coach in 1997.

Shafer said Bullough is one of his closest friends and someone he idolized as a coach, and is also the right person to take over as Syracuse’s defensive coordinator.

“He’s a hard-nosed guy,” Shafer said. “I trust him like a brother.”

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