MOBILE, Ala. — For the first time in 10 seasons, Bob Babich will go to work without the daily guidance of Lovie Smith.
Babich — the Bears’ longtime linebackers coach, one-time defensive coordinator and Smith’s first hire when he became coach in 2004 — will run the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense as their new coordinator. He was hired by new Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, who served as an assistant to Babich when he was North Dakota State’s coach.
‘‘Obviously, Lovie is a great head coach,’’ Babich said Tuesday at Ladd Peebles Stadium, where the Senior Bowl will be played Saturday. ‘‘He’s done a great job with the Chicago Bears.
‘‘The one thing is takeaways. We were huge in the takeaways. In [Smith’s] tenure, I think we had 310 takeaways. It was No. 1 in the NFL. That’s something we’re definitely going to strive to do here with the Jaguars.’’
Babich said he’s surprised Smith, who was fired Dec. 31, didn’t land a head coaching job despite several openings. Smith interviewed in Buffalo, San Diego and Philadelphia.
Babich said he’ll run a 4-3 defense in Jacksonville. It’ll likely include all the staples of Smith’s cover-2 scheme with the Bears.
He’s thankful Bradley gave him a chance.
‘‘Together, we’ll do whatever we have to be successful to help the Jaguars win,’’ Babich said.
The Bears have named Mike Clark their new strength and conditioning coordinator. He replaces Rusty Jones, who retired after 28 seasons in the NFL, including the last eight with the Bears.