Eight new faces dot staff; Johnson retains Lichtenberger, Rollins
Jason Rollins begins his fourth season as a secondary coach for the Green Wave in 2011.
In his third year, Rollins' secondary was tough against the pass, ranking first among Conference USA teams in pass defense, giving up just 194.6 yards per game, and ranking 28th in the nation. The secondary also contributed eight interceptions, 30 pass breakups, five forced fumbles and made five fumble recoveries. Senior Phillip Davis was a first team All C-USA selection and ranked eighth nationally in pass break-ups with 12 and signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
Much like his rookie season at Tulane, Rollins' group was very effective during his second year as well with the Green Wave. TU's secondary ranked first among Conference USA teams in pass defense, surrendering just 218.0 yards per game, and Rollins' cornerbacks contributed three interceptions on the season, including two by Davis, and the group accounted for 11 pass breakups.
In his first season, Rollins was an instant hit with the TU secondary as the group accounted for 23 pass breakups, five interceptions, five forced fumbles, five recovered fumbles and recorded 10 stops for lost yardage. More impressively, the TU pass defense ranked 14th in the nation (172.83 ypg) and was top ranked unit among Conference USA teams in 2008.
Rollins, 37, came to Tulane from McNeese State, where he served the last three seasons as the Cowboy's co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach. He helped McNeese to a three-year mark of 23-10 which included a pair of Southland Conference titles and back-to-back playoff appearances in 2006 and 2007.
During his final season with the Cowboys, Rollins' defensive unit helped anchor an 11-1 campaign for the top 25 ranked Cowboys. McNeese State reeled off 11 straight victories before falling to Eastern Washington in the first round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
In 2006, two of Rollins' defensive backs, Jamelle Juneau and Jonathan Walker, were each named to the All-SLC team, and two years ago when he was the linebacker coach, he helped mold Trey Bennett and Allen Nelson into two of the top linebackers in the conference.
Prior to his return to McNeese State, Rollins spent two seasons as the defensive backfield coach at Northwestern State, helping lead the Demons to the Southland Conference title in 2004, and his defensive backs were part of a unit that led the nation in total defense that same season.
Before that, he had served as a graduate assistant coach at McNeese State as well as an assistant coach in the prep ranks for a pair of Texas schools, including Galveston (TX) Ball High School from 1999-2003 and Lamarque (TX) High School in 2003.
A native of Lake Charles, La., Rollins played two seasons at McNeese State where he lettered as a safety in 1995-96. He earned his bachelor's degree in health and human performance from MSU in 1996.