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Cary and Wholley to Replace Blackwell

Fordham conducted a swift defensive coordinator search

After leading the nation in turnover margin last season, Fordham defensive coordinator David Blackwell has moved on after two years on Rose Hill. Multiple sources say Fordham is expected to name Tim Cary and staff newcomer Jon Wholley co-defensive coordinators in the coming week.

Blackwell’s experience at FBS powers Clemson, South Florida, and Pittsburgh gave Ram fans an early taste of the kind of staff Joe Moorhead was putting together when he arrived.  Up tempo and strong willed, the Fordham defense caused a nation leading 40 turnovers in 2013.  Also acting as linebackers coach, outside linebackers Mike Martin and Stephen Hodge were central to his system’s success and earned numerous league and national honors during Blackwell's tenure.

Blackwell took the Jacksonville State defensive coordinator job, joining first year head coach John Grass.  The move puts him much closer to his family. He tweeted a goodbye to players and fans last week after telling the team of his departure.

Tim Cary is expected to be promoted in his sixth year on Rose Hill. A holdover from the Tom Massella staff, due in part to his extensive recruiting background, Cary has coached four all-Patriot League selections in the defensive backfield in the past two seasons.  Cary is well respected by players and the staff, which, when combined with his tenure and experience on the defensive side of the ball, makes the pick largely unsurprising.

Pete Roussel of Coaching Search initially reported that Jon Wholley would join the Fordham staff as co-Defensive Coordinator and take over Blackwell’s position as linebackers coach.  Wholley’s experience includes a stint under Joe Moorhead at UConn, a common thread among much of the coaching staff.  Wholley, who was recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach at Connecticut, played for the Huskies as a walk on running back from 2001 to 2004. Between coaching stints with the Huskies, he was a running backs coach on Rose Hill for the 2009 season under Tom Massella.

This isn’t the first time that Cary and Wholley shared a position on a coaching staff. They both spent time on the Fordham staff together in 2009.  They also worked together as graduate assistants in Storrs under then-UConn offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.

It is unclear whether the terminology and style that Fordham seemingly perfected last year will be in play again this year. Players spoke frequently about their increased understanding of the system in year two under Blackwell. His blitz heavy schemes and man to man heavy coverage placed an increased focus on getting pressure on the passer and creating turnovers.  While Cary has similar philosophies to the outgoing Blackwell, Wholley will surely bring new elements to Fordham’s defense.

The moves comes three weeks before spring practice commences.