WSU DC Jake Dickert's Stats & Coaching History
Updated: Feb 2
What do the stats say about Jake Dickert's previous coaching stops?
Rick DeNice | January 30, 2020
New Washington State Head Football Coach, Nick Rolovich, added an important piece to his new staff in Pullman on Tuesday, hiring defensive coordinator Jake Dickert.
Dickert most recently served as Wyoming’s defensive coordinator and safeties coach in 2019. It was his first year calling plays for a FBS football program. Dickert also worked exclusively as a safeties coach for Wyoming in 2017 and 2018.
Normally, Sharp College Football uses both Beta_Rank and S&P+ advanced statistics to outline the impact of coordinator and head coaching hires in the Pac-12. Dickert, however, comes to Washington State with an extensive history at the NCAA Division II and FCS levels – levels that are not analyzed by the two advanced statistical models. Still, there is much to glean from Dickert’s long coaching history dating back to 2009. Below you will find Dickert’s coaching history, metrics, and the advanced stats of his 2019 season calling plays at Wyoming.
South Dakota (Special Teams Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach 2011, Defensive Backs Coach 2009-2010)
Dickert received his big chance in 2009 as the defensive backs coach for South Dakota. After two years, he was promoted to special teams coordinator and defensive back coach. In 2011 the Coyotes placed second in the Great West Conference in both fewest passing yards allowed and interceptions. Dickert coached three All-Conference performers and his special teams were exceptional in the punting game.
Southeast Missouri State (Defensive Backs Coach 2012)
In 2012, Dickert served as the defensive back coach at Southeast Missouri State and helped the defense place 18th in turnovers gained (25) and 23rd in interceptions (13). Southeast Missouri State ended the year ranked 2nd in the Ohio Valley Conference in pass defense and would propel Dickert to his first defensive coordinator position at Augustana.
Augustana (Defensive Coordinator 2013)
In 2013, Dickert’s Augustana’s defense finished 20th in the nation at the NCAA Division II level in scoring defense where it gave up only 19.5 points per game. Augustana ranked second in the NSIC in pass defense, third in rushing defense, and third in total defense.
Minnesota State (Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach 2014-2015)
After a short and successful stint at Augustana, Dickert landed at Minnesota State for the 2014-2015 season. Yet again, the defense excelled under his direction, finishing 2nd in the nation in scoring defense (12.9 points per game), 4th in turnovers gained, 12th in pass defensive efficiency, and 15th in total defense in 2014. In 2015, the Mavericks ranked 5th in the nation in scoring defense (16.1 points per game), 3rd in rush defense, 7th in pass defense efficiency, and 6th in total defense.
South Dakota State (Safeties Coach and Special Teams Coordinator 2016)
Next, Dickert joined South Dakota State as their safeties coach and co-special teams coordinator. Dickert played a part in the Jackrabbits success including a trip to the 2016 Missouri Valley Football Conference Championship and an eight seed in the 2016 NCAA Football Championship Playoff (FCS) where they advanced to the quarterfinals.
Wyoming (Defensive Coordinator & Safeties Coach 2018, Safeties Coach 2018-2019)
In 2017 Dickert parlayed his success into another promotion, moving from the FCS level to Division I where he landed at Wyoming as a safeties coach. The Cowboys led the country in takeaways (38) and ended the season 14th in total pass defense (174.9 YPG) and finished ranked 23rd in total defensive ranking (335.2 YPG). 2018 saw much of the same success on the defensive side of the ball where they ranked 19th in total defense (326.2 YPG), 25th in rushing defense (129.5) and 32nd in pass defense (196.7 YPG).
In 2019, Dickert continued coaching safeties and received his first shot as a defensive coordinator at the Division 1 level. The Beta_Rank Team Deep Dive Tool is an excellent resource to compare Wyoming’s defense pre-Dickert and post-Dickert. Between 2018 and 2019, Wyoming’s overall defense fell five spots in Beta_Rank (25th to 30th).
The Cowboy pass defense, however, exceeded expectations moving from 58th in the country to 36th. But the Wyoming rushing defense dropped from 11th in the country to 45th. Two other metrics that stuck out where Wyoming’s defensive play efficiency, which popped from 58th in the country to 12th, and a significant drop in drive efficiency which eroded from 30th in the country in 2018 to 78th in 2019. These key factors are a reason why Wyoming’s defense went from giving up 1.459 points per drive to a whopping 1.822 points per drive in 2019. In a pass happy Mountain West Conference, the Cowboys improved among Dickert’s core competency but the rushing defense suffered as a result.
2019 Advanced Stats Beta_Rank Defense National Ranking: 25th | Rushing Defense: 11th | Passing Defense: 58th S&P+ Defense National Ranking: 33rd
Is Jake Dickert a Good Hire for Wazzu?
Although the Division 1 sample size is small, there are trend lines that could give room for pause when diving into the numbers and trying to determine how Dickert will fare at Washington State. However, the ceiling should be fairly high as Washington State ended the 2019 season 107th in defensive Beta Rank after finishing 75th in 2018. With the loss of Alex Grinch after the 2017 season to Oklahoma, the Cougars have been searching for a defensive coordinator to replicate the successes of 2017 when WSU placed top-25 in Beta_Rank in defensive efficiency, drive efficiency, explosive drives, negative drives, and pass defense (9th!).
With over 13 years of experience coaching college football and an extensive history of success at every stop along the way, Dickert has an opportunity to breathe new life into a WSU defense that has sputtered over the last couple years. Considering that his defenses tend to be very capable defending against the pass, he should be a good fit in a conference whose offenses are predicated on open offense and stretch schemes.
One primary consideration will be how Dickert’s defense balances out Head Coach Nick Rolivich’s run-and-shoot offense. In the Air Raid, possession was not a heavily weighted metric compared to points per possession and in some cases that became a detriment to a Cougar defense struggling to stay off the field. While the run-and-and shoot is not the Air Raid, there are some similarities regarding possession. Another key factor to monitor is how quickly the defense can bring in players to fit the 4-2-5 scheme that Dickert will most likely employ for the Cougars.
Expectations are that coaches A.J. Cooper (defensive run game coordinator/DE’s) and John Richardson (defensive backs) are expected to join Rolivich’s staff within the coming weeks. It will be paramount that the Cougars begin evaluating current talent on the roster and fill immediate holes, potentially from recruits they were working to bring to Wyoming. At a school that faces similar challenges to what Dickert and staff faced at Wyoming, Washington State must excel at recruiting the right type of guys to fit their system.
With all things considered, this should be evaluated as a decent and interesting hire of an up and coming coordinator in the college football landscape. Rolovich is intent on building programs his way and, with the addition of Jake Dickert to his staff as his defensive coordinator, there could be room for both immediate success and long-term development.