Bucs hire USC's Burns to coach defensive backfield

Updated: February 9, 2006, 7:50 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

For the second time in less than a week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have tapped Pete Carroll's coaching roster at Southern California to fill a job on their staff, hiring Greg Burns to tutor the team's defensive backs.

Burns, 32, replaces Mike Tomlin, who departed Tampa Bay to become the defensive coordinator for first-year Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress. The new position with the Bucs is Burns' first NFL job.

His addition follows that of Jethro Franklin, who last weekend accepted the defensive line coach position with the Bucs after holding the same spot on the USC staff for one year. Franklin, 39, had previously worked for the Green Bay Packers.

Helping to connect the new-found Tampa Bay-Southern Cal pipeline is the fact Trojans offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is the son of Bucs defensive chief Monte Kiffin.

Tampa Bay officials said last week they had spoken to 30 candidates for vacancies on their staff and acknowledged they hoped to begin filling the holes.

In four seasons as Southern Cal's secondary coach, Burns tutored several current NFL players, including Pittsburgh Steelers star strong safety Troy Polamalu. Burns was very highly regarded at the college level for his attention to detail and technique. He will inherit a very good Tampa Bay secondary, led by Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly, one of the league's top, albeit underrated, cornerback tandems.

Before joining the Southern Cal staff in 2002, Burns worked at Louisville (1998-2001), where he coached cornerbacks, and at Idaho (1997). Burns was a standout defensive back at Washington State, a four-time letterman and two-year starter.

The Bucs continue to review candidates for two quality control positions on their staff.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.