David Bailiff has filled his defensive coordinator vacancy with the well traveled Brian Stewart. Stewart is no stranger to the Houston area having coached for both the Texans and the Houston Cougars.
Stewart has extensive NFL experience after coordinating the Cowboys' defense in 2007 and '08 as well as working for the Chargers and Eagles. Stewart followed defensive savant Wade Phillips from San Diego to Dallas. His '07 Cowboys defense was part of a 13-3 team that was the number 1 seed in the NFC. His '07 unit finished ninth in total defense and his '08 group finished eighth. As only the Cowboys can handle their business, owner Jerry Jones fired Stewart, without the consent of Phillips.
In the collegiate ranks, most recently he coached the secondary for Mike Riley's Nebraska team. Prior to that he was the defensive coordinator at Maryland for three seasons. In his first season with the Terps his unit was 21st in the country in total defense, but slipped each of the next two years to final resting place of 97th. Stewart's time at Maryland also coincided with their transition to the big, bad Big 10.
Prior to his run with the Terrapins Stewart's Houston defenses made a mammoth leap from 103rd in total defense in 2010 to 62nd in 2011.
Stewart is know for an aggressive 3-4 attack that can be either feast or famine. That would be a shift from Chris Thurmond's 4-2-5 look and would require bigger defensive ends, but with Rice's depth at linebacker, could open up opportunities to get more playmakers on the field. In recent years, there's been a shift to three man or odd fronts to combat the spread proliferation and programs like cross-town rival Houston have had a fair amount of success with a 3-4 look.