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Bray and Criner join defensive coaching staff

Minnesota announced changes to its coaching staff Monday.

Minnesota football coach Glen Mason announced Monday that Craig Bray and Mark Criner will join his coaching staff for the 2006 season.

He also announced that assistant head coach and outside linebackers coach Moe Ankney is retiring. Offensive coordinator Mitch Browning assumes the title of assistant head coach. Ankney joined Mason’s staff in 2001 as defensive coordinator and was named assistant head coach in 2003.

Bray will coach the Gophers defensive secondary. That job was vacated when Kerry Cooks left to take the same position at Wisconsin under new Badgers coach Bret Bielma. Bray comes to Minnesota after two years as secondary coach at Colorado.

Bray was also the defensive coordinator at Oregon State from 2000 to 2002.

Criner will serve as Minnesota’s linebackers coach. Criner was the defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State last year ” his second with the Raiders program. He previously served as defensive coordinator at Cincinnati and with the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL.

In another coaching move, defensive coordinator David Lockwood will assume the position of outside linebackers coach in addition to his coordinator role.

“We were able to hire two individuals that have extensive Division I coaching experience,” Mason said of Bray and Criner in a statement. “Both of them have served as defensive coordinators at some point during their career, which gives them comprehensive knowledge of defensive football.”

Last season, the Gophers ranked ninth in scoring defense in Big Ten conference games, giving up an average of 34.1 points per game in conference play.

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