I am excited about the hires Gus Malzahn made to fill the vacancies on Auburn’s defensive staff. It looks like he has brought in a group of good coaches and good people to lead the Tigers into the 2016 season.
I am particularly excited about the decision to hire Travis Williams and in saying that I am not taking anything away from the other newcomers on the coaching staff. However, I have known Travis since he played at Auburn and he has done a great job since he first set foot on campus.
I think he has the type of personality that allows him to work, work and work the players he coaches and still be able to love those guys with the players loving him back. I have seen him interact with those guys since he has been a coach here starting with his time as a graduate assistant and I have been impressed with the job he has done.
When he was needed to step into the role of linebacker coach for the bowl games the past two seasons I thought Travis did an outstanding job. If you talk to the players on defense they will tell you the same thing.
With Kevin Steele as their new coordinator, I think the Tigers will have a chance to put a good defensive team on the field. There are a few holes to fill at linebacker and elsewhere, but that is a normal thing in college football.
I also want to say that I am going to miss J.B. Grimes, who I believe has done as good a job during the three years he has been at Auburn as any offensive line coach in the SEC. The Tigers had some problems on offense from time to time during that period, but that hasn’t been the case with the offensive line. He is a great technique, fundamental football coach and a good guy on top of it. I can’t do anything but wish him the best at Cincinnati. I know he has family up there.
I know Coach Malzahn must be excited about bringing in Herb Hand to his coaching staff or he would have never let J.B. go up to Cincinnati.
For the coaches it is time to focus on finishing their 2016 group of signees. As the players already on campus return to classes and get focused going into their offseason routine they will try to build momentum for the upcoming season. Considering the way the Tigers performed in the bowl game that momentum may have already started building in bowl practices and with how the players performed in Birmingham.
I thought the Tigers played football the way the game was supposed to be played against Memphis. I was particularly impressed with how the defense performed in that game and the Tigers are going to need to keep that up to open this season because they open against a Clemson team that returns a lot of their key players from a dynamic 2015 team, particularly on offense where they have such an outstanding quarterback. He is the key guy for their football team that will probably be better than it was last season when the Tigers were just a few plays away from going undefeated.