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Nevada adds three interim defensive coaches, including former Sac State coach

Jody Sears
Jody Sears is among three interim defensive coaches added to Nevada's staff for the bowl game. (Elaine Thompson/AP file)

In its preparation for next week's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the Nevada football team has added three defensive assistant coaches on a interim basis.

Jody Sears, Josh Brown and John Landwehr have all been hired by head coach Jay Norvell to help the Wolf Pack prepare for its game against Ohio on Jan. 3. Each inherit an interim tag, although they could be evaluated for a long-term position after Nevada's bowl game.

The trio replaces former Wolf Pack defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, secondary coach David Lockwood and safeties coach Mike Chamoures, who were all fired after the regular season ended. Norvell explained his decision-making for the move here.

“We’re excited to have these high quality coaches with us as we prepare for a really good Ohio team in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl,” Norvell said. “With the early signing period behind us, our sole purpose is to prepare our players to win the bowl game. We will focus on filling permanent additions to the staff in January.”

Sears, 52, is the former head coach at Sacramento State and Weber State, where he compiled a 24-54 record from 2012-18. He was 16-39 in Big Sky play. Sears was the defensive coordinator for Weber State (2012), Washington State (2008-10) and Eastern Washington (2003-07) before becoming a head coach. He has generally worked with the secondary in his coaching career. He will be Nevada's interim defensive coordinator against Ohio.

Brown was Cal Poly's defensive coordinator from 2011-18. He joined Cal Poly as an assistant coach in 2010 before becoming the coordinator. He was linebackers coach at Sac State from 2007-08 and also had stints at Kansas and Arizona State in quality control and graduate assistant roles. He has worked with linebackers for most of his career. The San Luis Obispo native played two seasons at linebacker at Gavilan College before playing one year at Oklahoma.

Landwehr is a familiar face at Nevada. A native of Sacramento, Landwehr served as Nevada’s defensive quality control coach in 2015 with a focus on the defensive line and was a defensive graduate assistant with the program from 2016-18. In 2014, Landwehr was a grad assistant at Marshall and in 2013 he was the offensive line coach at Santa Monica College. He spent the 2019 season on the staff at Narbonne High School in Southern California.

Nevada's defense will be without three starters for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl as safety Austin Arnold, cornerback Daniel Brown and nose guard Hausia Sekona are all suspended for their roles in the post-game fight with UNLV in the regular-season finale. Starting linebacker Gabriel Sewell is suspended for the first half.

The Wolf Pack will play an Ohio offense that averaged 34.7 points per game (20th in the nation) while totaling 443.3 yards per game (32nd in the nation). Ohio has exceptional balance. The Bobcats average 226.8 passing yards per game and 216.5 rushing yards per game, and quarterback Nathan Rourke is a three-time All-MAC selection who has accounted for 108 touchdowns (60 passing, 48 rushing) in his three-year starting career.

Norvell said he will do a national search for full-time replacement coaches after the bowl game.

"Probably the most important thing is getting the right coaches here for the long term," Norvell said. "I’m not going to hurry through that process. I’m going to take my time. I’m going to talk to everybody I know. We’ll talk to college coaches, professional coaches, everybody that I respect we’ll get information from and we’ll make sure we have the right people who have the qualities that we need to take the next step."

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