When Coach Roof decided to leave Auburn after the 2011 regular season, Auburn's head coach faced the challenge of bringing in a replacement who would be a difference-maker for the program and I think he has accomplished that.
What Coach Chizik has done in hiring Brian VanGorder from the Atlanta Falcons is that he has brought in someone who knows as much or more about defense than he does. Personally, I think the hire is a great one and I don't know how Auburn could have done a better job of filling the defensive vacancy on the staff.
Of all of the coaches who could have been hired, I don't know who could have been found that would be more qualified for the job with his success as both a coordinator in the National Football League and in the SEC at Georgia.
When I was told that Coach VanGorder was the number one choice to be Auburn's new coordinator, considering what he has accomplished I can see why Coach Chizik wanted him on board and why he is so excited about the hire. I have been told that the Coach VanGorder really wanted to come to Auburn to be on Gene's staff, which is exciting to me and exciting for Auburn football.
I think hiring the new coordinator will give the Auburn defense new life and enthusiasm. I think it will also be a positive for Auburn's recruiting with prospects being excited about playing for a coach with such an impressive background.
From my conversations with Auburn people on the subject, they are genuinely excited to have him on the coaching staff and I can see why.
Brian VanGorder (left) is shown with Gene Chizik.
If Auburn can come through with a hire for the offensive coordinator position that is somewhere close to being as impressive as the VanGorder hire, the Tigers will be in good shape heading into the 2012 season. My belief is that Coach Chizik will find the right guy for that job, just like he did on defense.
I think it is very important that the man hired to coordinate the offense is also an outstanding coach for developing and managing quarterbacks. In my opinion if you are going to have a championship season that starts at the quarterback position, something I will write about in more detail in an upcoming column.
From the Mailbag:
Dear Coach Dye,
I just wanted to write you a little note to say thank you so very much for your encouraging words to the Auburn Family this morning. It was like cool water to drink when you are thirsty. We needed that building us up and remember the accomplishments of this bowl game and look up to the good future that is ahead.
I am 61 years old; been watching AU football since 1957 as my Daddy was a grad of 1936. He and mama had season tickets every year from 1957 until now. Mother passed away this last July at age 96, and so the priority has ended. I have gone to the games with my family all my life until this coming year of 2012.
All this to say that you have been an important person to me and my children and family even though you never knew me. Here is a very big Thank YOU for making a difference in the lives of so many all your years. I have prayed for you and yours throughout these years. I will not stop. If you can look up in the Bible Numbers 6:25 I pray this for you even now.
God bless you and again....many thanks,
I am excited about the future for Auburn football and truly appreciate your kind words. I hope you really enjoy the 2012 season and many more to follow.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.