Taiwo Onatolu is in his second season as cornerbacks coach after starting his career at UB as director of player personnel.
BRAD McCASLIN | Defensive Assistant & Director of Player Personnel
Former Eastern Michigan defensive coordinator Brad McCaslin enters his first season as defensive assistant and director of player personnel. McCaslin brings with him 20 years of coaching experience, including serving as the defensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan for the past two seasons. Leipold and McCaslin worked together at Nebraska-Omaha from 1997-2000 and from 2004-06.
Prior to Eastern Michigan, McCaslin spent two years at Drake University where he served as the team’s defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach. A proven winner, McCaslin has been a part of teams that have posted winning records in 15 of his 17 seasons. During that span, the squads won seven conference championships and posted a 65.6 winning percentage(126-66).
In 2012, the Bulldogs ranked second in the PFL in total defense by surrendering just 329 yards per game and two Bulldogs, including PFL Defensive Player of the Year Tyler Moorehead, ranked in the top 10 in the league in sacks. Additionally, nine Drake defenders were named to all-PFL teams.
McCaslin came to Drake from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where he coached for 14 seasons, including the last six as the Mavericks’ defensive coordinator (2005-10). He also served as associate head coach his final four seasons.
As defensive coordinator at UNO McCaslin oversaw a dramatic improvement across the entire unit. The 2007 Mavericks ranked first in the North Central Conference in scoring defense (16.8), turnover margin (+14) and rush defense (97.2). Their red zone defense also improved from worst to first in the NCC from 2006 to 2007. UNO players collected all three NCC defensive MVP awards in 2007.
McCaslin began his tenure at Nebraska-Omaha as a graduate student assistant coach for three seasons (1997-99) before becoming a full-time assistant in 2000, in charge of the defensive line. McCaslin’s units were quickly among the strongest in the conference. Among his star pupils was All-American Chris Cooper, a sixth-round draft pick who has spent nine seasons in the National Football League. He also coached Buck Rasmussen, who earned a Super Bowl ring in 2005 with the New England Patriots, and Kenny Onatolu, who played with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League before being signed by the Minnesota Vikings prior to the 2009 season.
McCaslin spent four seasons as the team’s recruiting coordinator in addition to his defensive line duties, from 2001-05. In 2009, UNO finished third in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association in total defense and had the second-best rushing defense to go along with the league’s third-best passing defense.
A native of Cheyenne, Wyo., McCaslin was a stand-out wide receiver at Hastings College from 1990-1994. While there he set the school record for most receptions in a game. After graduating he taught and coached at Benson High School in Omaha, Neb., for two years before becoming a graduate assistant at UNO.
NAJJA JOHNSON | Graduate Assistant
Najja Johnson returns to UB as a defensive graduate assistant after a standout career with the Bulls.
Johnson returned to Buffalo after a stint at Marietta High School in Marietta, GA, his high school alma mater. Johnson spent two years on the staff working with the defensive backs and coached Raymond Lester to multiple FBS scholarships before Lester elected to attend Auburn University.
A Jim Thorpe Award Watch Lister at Buffalo, Johnson played safety and cornerback for the Bulls from 2010-13. As a junior, Johnson led the Mid-American Conference in interceptions with five. He was anAll-MAC First Team selection his senior season. He tallied 119 tackles (90 solo) and nine interceptions for his career. His 38 career pass breakups are second-most in Buffalo history while his 11 in 2011 are tied for the most in a single season in school history. He was originally a walk-on at Buffalo before earning a starter's role in 2011.
MASON JUDD | Graduate Assistant