Jags' Del Rio interviewing candidates for vacancies

Updated: January 4, 2007, 6:22 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

After dismissing five assistants earlier this week, Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio has begun interviewing potential replacements for his staff.

Del Rio has targeted two recently deposed college head coaches, Dirk Koetter of Arizona State and Mike Shula of Alabama, as possible assistants on his offensive staff.

Koetter spoke with Del Rio on Wednesday about the team's offensive coordinator vacancy. Shula will meet with Del Rio over the weekend about the position of quarterbacks coach. Both, obviously, are crucial jobs.

Another candidate for the offensive coordinator job is current running backs coach Kennedy Pola.

Despite a No. 10 statistical ranking, including the third-rated rushing offense, the Jacksonville offense was sporadic and was 24th in passing. The Jags face a tough call at quarterback in 2007. Byron Leftwich, who finished the season on injured reserve, is entering the final season of his original contract and might seek a change of scenery. His replacement, David Garrard, struggled down the stretch.

The offensive deficiencies led the Tuesday's firings of coordinator Carl Smith and quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson. Del Rio also dismissed special teams coordinator Pete Rodriquez and wide receivers coach Steve Walters, and did not renew the contract of special teams aide Mark Michaels.

Koetter, 47, is known for his vertical passing game. He compiled a 66-44 record as the head coach at Boise State (1998-2000) and Arizona State (2001-06), but he has never coached in the NFL.

Shula is the son of Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history. In his four seasons at Alabama, he was 26-23. Shula, 41, most recently worked in the NFL as the quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins, on Dave Wannstedt's staff from 2000-02.

Before that, he was an offensive assistant in Tampa Bay (1988-90) and with the Dolphins (1991-92), and was the offensive coordinator with the Bucs (1996-99).

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

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