AJ Ricker - new OL coach?

AJ Ricker has a Twitter profile that lists him as a University of Houston Offensive Assistant and the HtownTakeover picture as his profile picture.

Doesn’t look like Ricker was coaching this past year as he was hired prior to Lovie Smith’s hiring at Illinois and then fired by Lovie a month later. Before that he, was the OL coach at Mizzou under Gary Pinkle for 2 years and before that he was the OL coach at Illinois among other places. He was a former Mizzou center that played a bit in the NFL.

Looks like he has the pedigree to be a good hire.


Also, keep an eye on AJ Blum, DC at Westfield. Coaches, Duarte, and Berman have followed him recently. Close to Oliver and 2018 4* DT Keondre Coburn.

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Yes, he was OL coach at Missouri when they won the SEC East. He also played at Klein HS. Got left out in coaching change at Illinois. Looks like a really strong hire.

Someone said that Blum is a first-rate DL coach, and he would help us keep the pipeline to Westfield and possibly also get Coburn, who will be something of an another Ed Oliver in the '18 class.


These upcoming hires could make the majority of us forget the bowl demolishing. The recruiting pipelines could become even awesomer.


So the staff is shaping up as:

OC/QB - Sonny Cumbie (TCU OC/QB)
RB - Kenith Pope
WR - Darrell Wyatt
TE - James Casey
OL - AJ Ricker (Missouri OL)

DC/DB - Brian Stewart (Nebraska DB)
DL - AJ Blum (Westfield DC)
LB - Archie McDaniel (SMU LB)
DB - Blake Gideon (Western Carolina S)



I’m not overly familiar with those coaches. How do their recruiting profiles look?

Stewart? Again? Meh.

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I always thought Stewart’s defense were pretty stout while here at UH

Cumbie??? Where did that come from? Did I miss something? Not sure why he would leave TCU, but that would be a steal and great hire.

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Cumbie would need to take around a 50% pay cut to come here. Not happening.

A number of offesnive players and coaches recently followed Cumbie on twitter. With Meachum not moving on, Cumbie is still just a co-offensive coordinator and not calling plays at TCU. If he’s decided to take the next step, he needs to be the play caller and may have decided to move on. Coogs can afford him with what they were paying Herman and previous staff.

Stewart recently followed Duarte and Duarte followed him back on twitter. He’s got a number of supporters from his time at Houston, including some players still at Houston that he recruited. He knows Houston and is considered to be a good recruiter. He also employs a 3-4 attacking defense that would help maintain continuity.

Nice staff if that’s the way it comes together.

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When Stewart was here last, we went 5-7 and 13-1.

  • I don’t recall much about the defense prior to Gibbs.
  • Sumlin didn’t take Stewart to A&M. Stewart went to Mizzou. Anybody know why?
  • Last season was DB coach at Nebraska. Seems a step back from OC.
  • Defensive schemes have changed. TO seemed to be riding on the crest of the attacking, shifting, mis-directing defense. I don’t remember seeing that from UH before. Hope Stewart has updated.

I wouldn’t say Stewart’s defense was stout, but it did have a pulse. Unlike any defense during our air raid days prior to that time.

Stewart had an 3-4 aggressive defense that meant to pressure the QB while trying to force turnovers. He had come to the Coogs from the Cowboys where he was DC under Wade Phillips, but was made a scapegoat after a 9-7 season that saw the Pokes miss the playoffs. The Coogs went 5-7 in 2010 mainly because Case Keenum and Cotton Turner were hurt in the 3rd game of the season forcing the Coogs to go with freshmen Terrence Broadway/Dave Piland.

Stewart’s defense came alive the following year as he utilized LB Sammy Brown as a designated blitzer and Brown had a great year, tallying 13.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss. We also had a great group of LBs that year with Brown, Marcus McGraw, Phillip Steward and Derrick Mathews and a secondary led by newcomer DJ Hayden. We forced 30 turnovers that year as you started to see the formation of the 3rd Ward Defense (David Gibbs, who had also previously been mentored under Wade Phillips with the Texans, ran a similar style defense while with the Coogs).

Sumlin did not take Stewart with him for reasons unknown (one possible reason is that Sumlin had sort of been forced to get rid of his friend John Skladany after the 2009 season and the relationship between he and Stewart was never presumed to be great because of that. Stewart did apply for the Head Coaching job at UH, but was one of the ones passed over for Tony Levine.

Stewart went to Maryland under 2nd year coach Randy Edsell and immediately helped improved their D even though they went 4-8. The next 2 years, Maryland went 7-6, but the Defense slipped a bit before the end of the 2014 season when Maryland collapsed against Rutgers and Stanford. In the offseason, Edsell and Stewart decided to mutually agree to part ways. Maryland’s defense collapsed the following year, Edsell was fired 6 games into the season, and the Terrapins finished 3-9.

If Stewart does end up here, I’d expect there to be little drop off with our aggressive tendencies on defense, however, I’d expect to see an increase in our DB aggressiveness and production. Honestly, he’d be a great pickup and might actually be an upgrade over Orlando.


Blake Gideon might be a bit if an unknown as a coach. But he’s the son of a high school coach and started at safety from day 1 at UT and did so for four years under Mack Brown. He’s very football smart amd was the “quarterback of the defense”. Major was coaching at UT at the time so he knows what Blake brings to the table.

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Stewart made us respectable on D…i like the hire a lot!
This seems like a good group from Major…

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He and Meachum were co-offensive coordinators and Meachum made $548,000. I would assume Cumbie would be in that range and we should be able to give a little raise to come here and be the main man for offense. We did only pay Major $375,000.

I thought Cumbie got a raise when he flirted with UT last year. Sonny’s in the box while Meacham roams the sidelines.

Cumbie makes $1.4MM.


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