After reportedly striking out with five other candidates for their defensive-coordinator job, the Raiders turned to a man with a master's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology.
After finishing 29th in the NFL in total defense, they're hoping 37-year-old Jason Tarver can outsmart the rest of the AFC West.
They named the former 49ers aide as their coordinator Monday, replacing Chuck Bresnahan, whom former head coach Hue Jackson publicly upbraided after the team lost four of its last five games.
Tarver spent the last year as co-defensive coordinator for Stanford, which ranked either first or second in the Pac-12 in six defensive categories.
Before moving to the Farm, he had spent 10 years with the 49ers, starting as a quality-control coach for three years before moving to assistant running backs/offensive assistant coach. From 2005 to 2010, he coached the outside linebackers. He was hired by Steve Mariucci, then retained by a parade of successors. Jim Harbaugh would have kept him, too, except that David Shaw offered him a key spot on the Stanford staff.
Under Tarver's guidance in 2009, the 49ers' outside linebackers recorded 15 takeaways, 17.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles.
After playing safety at Foothill High in Pleasanton, he received a scholarship to play at Santa Clara, which soon dropped football. He transferred to play at West Valley College in Saratoga and later coached there while completing his degree in biochemistry at Santa Clara.
The son of a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Tarver got his master's at UCLA, but instead of going into drug research or medical school, he opted for coaching.
“I really love the look on guys' faces when you help them make a play,” he told The Chronicle in September. “It's almost better than doing it yourself. That's what really made me want to do this.”
This article appeared on page B – 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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Raiders hire Jason Tarver as def. coordinator
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