I was watching CFB and wasn't on the computer since about noon. Instead of getting lost in the 400+ opinions, I'll just make my own thread. : )
I like the Wannstadt move but I'm not crazy-happy about it. Buffalo, and more importantly, Gailey and Nix, can't take on another young mind looking to cut his teeth as a defensive coordinator. They need a steady guy who can put together a 10-20 ranked defense without a ton of player improvement. I think Wannstadt can do that.
I wouldn't judge Wannstadt's defensive performance in college as any indication of pro performance. He can only coach his guys 20 hours a week. Install the same schemes at Pitt and Florida, with the same degree of coaching, and you get vastly different results. College success is about recruiting.
Wannstadt didn't really coach the defense in his last head coaching stint in Miami. Jim Bates did, and ran his version of the 4-3 with DT's that played like twin NT's. That's not Wannstadt's defense, but he let Bates run it because Bates was so good. Wannstadt certainly had a voice in things though, and Miami had a great defense early last decade. If the front office got the team a QB better than Jay Fiedler, Miami might have made a strong push at the Super Bowl. Wannstadt's teams routinely gave the Patriots fits by playing them so tough.
Lots of folks on the big thread were getting caught up on schematics. NFL defense is about players first, schematics second. Better players and current player improvement will precede defensive improvement as a whole.
Does anyone really think that Wannstadt hasn't really learned a bunch about defense in 20 years, that he couldn't run any style of defense? Ron Rivera coached the Bears Tampa 2, went to San Diego and became the Charger's ILB coach, then DC. But he ran a 3-4, learned from Wade Phillips. For sure, Wannstadt knows the Landry 4-3, the Bates 4-3, and what he got from Edwards' scheme, which was a combination of the Marvin Lewis 46 and a straight 3-4. That's only if Wannstadt didn't know it prior, which is likely.
The player transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 is easy:
DT: The NT, Kyle Williams, goes to DT. The LDE, Dareus, goes to DT. Kellen Heard and Spencer Johnson back them up.
LDE: A combination of Kelsay, Carrington, and Edwards. In 46 looks, Carrington and Edwards are exactly who you want at LDE. That's a nice rotation, with Carrington as the eventual starter.
RDE: A big gaping hole, but Merriman might pull some downs here.
SLB: A combination of Moats, Merriman and Batten. Most 4-3's have the SLB playing like a 3-4 OLB anyway, so this isn't a big deal. Might need help here, though, if Moats can't figure out coverages or Merriman can't play here due to injury.
And Nix can keep drafting 3-4, because the players fit. And it allows more hybrid looks, since the defense can often change scheme with the same player, like the Ravens do. The need for edge rushers exists in both defenses. Buffalo needs two OLB's in a 3-4, and a RDE and SLB in the 4-3. Same-same.
In the draft, this defense limits some options. Those of you that want Coples need to go re-watch him play. He looks like Tarzan in pads, but plays like Jane. Mercilus is probably a LDE. So is Vinny Curry. Nick Perry might fit at RDE or SLB. I'd give Dont'a Hightower a look at SLB.
Overall, I like the move but this move won't cause me to make any bold 2012 predictions.