Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 6, 2015

The Big Ten saw three schools make coaching changes after last season, with Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska all bringing in new leaders. But other schools didn?t stand pat, making significant changes to their staffs. Here?s a look at the six key coaching changes made on existing staffs after 2014.

1. Ohio State: Tim Beck, co-offensive coordinator: When offensive coordinator Tom Herman took the Houston job, Urban Meyer scored a home run when he landed this former Nebraska play-caller. Beck is a Youngstown, Ohio, native who is well-connected in Ohio and Texas recruiting circles. And he?s smart. Beck will double as quarterbacks coach and be reunited with OC Ed Warinner, whose work together at Kansas in 2007 under Mark Mangino drew raves.

"I have known Tim for several years and have also watched and competed against him," Meyer said at the time of the hire. "I have always respected his knowledge of the game and he is respected in the profession. I always look for coordinators and co-coordinators who will mesh with our staff, our style and can make us better. I believe Tim will do just that."

2. Michigan State: Mark Snyder, linebackers/special teams: He doesn?t have a ?defensive coordinator? title, but Snyder brings a wealth of coordinating experience to East Lansing, most recently working as DC at Texas A&M. Snyder also has pushed the buttons on defenses at Ohio State and South Florida and was head coach of Marshall. He also has a background working with MSU boss Mark Dantonio. Snyder will complement co-coordinators Harlon Barnett (secondary) and Mike Tressel (linebackers), who were promoted after Pat Narduzzi left to be head coach at Pitt. This is a powerful defensive triumvirate.

"There needed to be somebody that would go and do what Pat did, take the defensive ends at times, take the defensive tackles at times during practice, question things that are being done up front, reinforce things that are being done up front, and there needed to be somebody at the linebacker position that would do the same thing," Dantonio said.

3. Maryland: Keith Dudzinski, defensive coordinator: Maryland and defensive coordinator Brian Stewart waited until February to ?mutually part ways? in somewhat of a surprise move. After three seasons in College Park, Md., Stewart landed the DB gig at Nebraska, while Terps boss Randy Edsall promoted Dudzinski from linebackers coach to coordinator. Dudzinski came to Maryland as a part of Edsall's original staff in 2011. Prior to that, Dudzinski had a successful six-year stint as UMass's defensive coordinator.

"Keith is an accomplished coach who has a strong history as a defensive coordinator prior to his time at the University of Maryland," Edsall said. "Over the past four seasons, he has been a great asset to our coaching staff in terms of game planning and developing our inside linebackers. Keith has a good rapport with our student-athletes and a great knowledge of our personnel, which will make for a seamless transition for our defensive unit."

4. Rutgers: Ben McDaniels, offensive coordinator: Gotta like his bloodlines, as McDaniels is the younger brother of New England Patriots offensive coordinator/coaching savant Josh. McDaniels-who was promoted from receivers coach–will be the Scarlet Knights? sixth offensive coordinator is six seasons, replacing the sage Ralph Friedgen, who will remain as a consultant. Before arriving at Rutgers in 2014, McDaniels had served as an offensive assistant in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His last offensive coordinator job was in 2012 with Columbia in the Ivy League. Rutgers ranked ninth in the Big Ten in scoring (25.6 ppg) and seventh in total offense (378.8 ypg) during an 8-5 campaign in 2014.

"I have tremendous confidence in Ben," RU coach Kyle Flood said after the hire. "I had the opportunity to sit in on a lot of the offensive meetings and be on the headset on game day and listen to him, watch him teach, watch him go through the game planning portion with the rest of the offensive coaches. I have complete confidence in him that he will do a great job going forward as our coordinator."

5. Iowa: Brian Ferentz, run-game coordinator. Kirk Ferentz shook up his staff after a mediocre 2014. And the biggest move was adding a ?run game coordinator? title to o-line coach Brian Ferentz, his son. Kirk Ferentz never has had a designated run-game coordinator in his 16 seasons in Iowa City. Now is as good a time as any to give it a try, as this offense needs some juice. The Hawkeyes finished fourth in the Big Ten in total offense last season (417.2 ypg), but were seventh in rushing (168.8 ypg) despite having Outland Trophy winner Brandon Scherff at left tackle. Bottom line: The run game was mostly lifeless. Of Iowa's 514 rushes, just one went for 40-plus yards. Greg Davis remains as offensive coordinator for a fourth season.

?I believe these adjustments in coaching responsibilities will add to our efficiency and productivity as a staff,? Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. ?We have an outstanding group of teachers and we look forward to the challenge of building a strong 2015 Hawkeye football team.?

6. Illinois: Mike Phair, co-defensive coordinator. It?s no secret-the Illini need to improve a defense that has been a sieve under Tim Beckman. In 2014, Illinois ranked 109th in the nation in total yards allowed (456.4 yards per game), 107th in points allowed (34.0) and 115th in rushing defense (239.2 yards per game). Get the picture? Enter Phair, who also will coach the d-line. Tim Banks remains the coordinator, but Phair brings some NFL cred to Champaign. Phair spent 2014 on Lovie Smith?s staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Phair worked with the Chicago Bears for three seasons - including two with Smith - from 2011-13. For what it?s worth, Phair hasn?t coached in college since 2001, when he was at Tiffin (Ohio).

?When we interviewed him, he was sweating and up on the board getting after it,? Beckman said. ?That?s what I like. He?s really passionate for the game. Pass rush has been one of our things that we want to continue to improve on, and I thought he had some great ideas.?

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.