Louisiana-Lafayette begins assembling football coaching staff

Lafayette, LA (The Advertiser) - Vanderbilt defensive line coach Mike Pelton has accepted the same job at UL under new head coach Mark Hudspeth.

"I am joining his staff," Pelton wrote in a text message Saturday.

Pelton, 39, joined Bobby Johnson's coaching staff at Vanderbilt last March after working with the defensive line at Iowa State for Gene Chizik from 2007-08. Prior to that he spent six years at Troy from 2001-06, including his final season at co-defensive coordinator. While at Troy, Pelton coached current NFL pass-rushing stars DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora. He also coached the defensive line at Valdosta State in 2000.

As a defensive tackle at Auburn, Pelton earned first-team All-SEC honors and was a senior co-captain in 1994 and helped the Tigers win 20 consecutive games in his final two years. He was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round of the 1995 NFL draft and spent the 1995 season with the Indianapolis Colts.

Vanderbilt defensive end Tim Fugger tied for the SEC lead with four forced fumbles and defensive tackle Rob Lohr ranked in the league's top 20 with four sacks during Pelton's lone year with the program. (Johnson resigned over the summer, and Robbie Caldwell was promoted to interim head coach. Caldwell recently resigned and was replaced by Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin.)

Iowa State's rush defense improved from 12th to sixth in the Big 12 during the 2007 season from the previous year as Pelton coached second-team all-conference picks in nose guard Ahtyba Rubin and defensive end Kurtis Taylor. Rubin was picked by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL draft.

Pelton played a role in Troy's defensive excellence from 2001-06 as the program earned bowl bids in '04 and '06. In 2002, the Trojans ranked fourth nationally in total defense (277 yards per game). They were 16th in total defense in '04 and played in the Silicon Valley Bowl. Troy was co-Sun Belt champion in '06 and won the New Orleans Bowl.

The Cajuns added former Ole Miss administrative operations coordinator David Saunders on Thursday. Saunders will serve as cornerbacks coach and assistant recruiting coordinator.