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Published: Saturday, 11/29/2008

UT likely to interview Eberflus

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Nick Moore hauls in a pass for the Rockets and is tackled by P.J. Mahone in the first quarter. Nick Moore hauls in a pass for the Rockets and is tackled by P.J. Mahone in the first quarter.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

One of the candidates to replace Tom Amstutz, Missouri defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, is expected to meet with University of Toledo officials tomorrow about the Rockets' head coach opening, The Blade has learned.

Eberflus, a UT graduate and former Rockets assistant coach, has been the Tigers' defensive coordinator for the last eight years under Gary Pinkel.

Eberflus, 38, is a Whitmer High School graduate. UT athletic director Mike O'Brien hopes to make a hire by early December.

Other possible candidates are thought to be Arizona defensive coordinator Mark Stoops and former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney.

O'Brien has connections with both Stoops and McCarney. Stoops' brother, Mike, was an assistant coach at Kansas State when O'Brien served as associate athletic director from 1997-2001. O'Brien and McCarney, both 55 years old, grew up in Iowa City, Iowa.

MORGAN HITS A GRAND: Redshirt freshman Morgan Williams went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season yesterday with 153 yards rushing. Williams set a UT freshman rushing record and gave the Rockets a 1,000-yard rusher for the fourth straight year. He led UT with six rushing touchdowns.

'D' NOTES: In the first quarter, senior cornerback Tyrrell Herbert had his fourth interception of the season. It was the second straight game he picked off a pass. Herbert finished with eight interceptions in his career. ... In the second quarter, junior Albertson Alexandre had the Rockets' first sack since Oct. 25 against Central Michigan. Sophomore Doug Westbrook added a sack later in the quarter. ... Sophomore Archie Donald led the Rockets with a career-high 17 tackles.

BRUCE RETURNS: One of the best players of the Tom Amstutz era at Toledo, quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, was on hand for the coach's final game yesterday.

"He's done so much for this program and taken it so many places, that a tough year shouldn't make anything a negative," Gradkowski said. "He has been nothing but a positive for the players and this program."

Gradkowski spent the 2006 and '07 seasons with Tampa Bay of the NFL, starting 11 games, but was cut late in the 2008 preseason by the St. Louis Rams. He has since worked out for Denver, Seattle, and Houston and believes he would have been signed by the Texans "after a second visit, but I messed up a hamstring during the workout. It's better now, and I'm going to Philadelphia for a workout Monday.

"I'm definitely optimistic something is going to work out for me, if not before the end of this season then next year."

EXTRA POINTS: Redshirt freshman Adonis Thomas replaced sophomore Greg Harris on kickoff returns. Harris was injured on a kickoff last week against Miami. ... Before the game, 10 UT seniors were honored. Defensive tackle Sean Williamson, who was dismissed from the team Oct. 24 for a violation of team rules, was among the players on the field with family. ... Junior placekicker Alex Steigerwald finished 16-of-21 on field goals this year. He made a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter. ... Junior WR Stephen Williams had two receptions to move past Carl Ford (149 catches from 1999-2002) into seventh place with 150 career catches.

Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg contributed to this report.



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