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January 22, 2013

Kiffin confirms defensive changes after 'tough interviews' and that the Cowboys are moving to a 4-3

New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said his defensive staff is largely set now that he has completed his interviews with each of the coaches from last year, and he said the Cowboys are going to a 4-3 defense.

Without going through all the names, Kiffin confirmed Tuesday at the Senior Bowl that the changes are complete. Linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, secondary coach Jerome Henderson and assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett are set to return, along with the addition of defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.

“They’re darn good coaches,” Kiffin said. “I interviewed every one of them. Of course, I didn’t make the final decisions.”

Kiffin said the Cowboys will make the switch to the 4-3, but that he doesn’t know yet what players will fit what roles. He said he and his staff have not had time to sit down and talk about all of that yet.

“We’re going to run the 4-3, but we have to see the personnel and see how it fits,” he said. “You don’t want to rush in. We’ve not even had time to meet. The main thing is to hire good coaches.”

Kiffin said he tried to conduct tough interviews with the staff.

“They were fairly tough interviews,” he said. “Of course, they’ve got to be. Everybody’s going to give you good recommendations.”

Kiffin was a popular man at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Passers-by expressed congratulations and well-wishes upon his return to the NFL.

He said he’s glad to be back and that thoughts of retirement are far away.

“I just love it. I love coaching. It’s like we always tell the players – the first rule for getting better is show up,” Kiffin said. “We’ve got good players. But we’ve got to try to improve everywhere we can.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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