Texas A&M football: 5 candidates who could replace Mike Elko

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Bert Watts — Fresno State

A couple of these candidates will be at jobs where it feels like money would be the only motivator for the guy leaving, but these first two would be definite steps up in terms of difficulty and the challenge. Bert Watts doesn’t have a ton of experience — 2018 was his first year as the defensive coordinator for Fresno State — but it was wildly successful.

The Bulldogs finished No. 17 in total yards at 321.6 per game and No. 3 in points allowed per game. They were also tied for No. 11 with 26 turnovers forced per game, which is something the Aggies struggled with in 2018. Watts and the defense was a huge reason the Bulldogs went 12-2, winning the Mountain West Conference over Boise State and the Las Vegas Bowl over Arizona State.

Watts spent one season as the Fresno State linebackers coach as well, and the defense was No. 10 points allowed and No. 15 in total defense. Prior to that he was the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach for four seasons at UC Davis.

The Bulldogs were 1-10 the season before Jeff Tedford came back and he got them to 10 wins in year one and 12 in year two. The rest of the country has noticed. His defensive coordinator was hired away in after the 2017 season, allowing Watts to take over, and his offensive coordinator was hired by Indiana after this season.

Could Watts be next?