AU Expected To Name New Coordinator Soon

Phillip Marshall writes on a variety of football subjects and comments on the Auburn basketball team.

Ramblin' around on a Tuesday morning…

Barring unexpected complications, look for Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville to name a new defensive coordinator by the end of the week.

Tuberville isn't talking about who it might be, but it seems likely the choice will be someone who has NFL experience, has been a college coordinator and believes in the 4-3 defense. It's not likely to be someone with whom Tuberville has worked previously.

There won't be a stream of candidates visiting campus for interviews as in some past hires. It's a matter of going through the required process to get it done.

The new coordinator will have to hit the ground running. He'll only have about a month to get ready for spring practice, but he'll still have it easier than Al Borges did last year. Borges took over the Auburn offense just two weeks before the start of spring practice.

*I had a fascinating interview with Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles the day before Auburn's basketball team played Arkansas. Broyles took over as Arkansas head football coach in December 1957. He became athletic director in 1973 and stepped down from his coaching position in 1976. He says he wants to remain as athletic director until he's 90.

Because I wrote a long story about Broyles for Tuesday's Huntsville Times, I can't go into great detail here, but Broyles had strong praise for Auburn and, in particular, for Borges and quarterback Jason Campbell.

"That coach did something I've only seen done a few times," Broyles said. "He took a quarterback who didn't have confidence and gave him confidence. The quarterback gained the confidence of his team and the fans and led an undefeated season.

"Now that's coaching."

Broyles was also impressed by former defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, who won the award that bears his name and goes annually to the nation's top assistant coach. Broyles presented Chizik with the award shortly before Chizik left for Texas.

Gene Chizik (center) is pictured with Frank Broyles (right) at the Broyles Award ceremony in Little Rock, Ark. Jonna Chizik (left) is Chizik's wife.

"That was an impressive young man," Broyles said. "He talked about wanting to be a head coach. I think he could have done that just as well at Auburn as at Texas, but I think he'll be a good one.

A couple of other interesting tidbits from Broyles:

Arkansas had a few tickets to sell for basketball last season for the first time in 26 years. Previously, the arena had been sold out in season tickets.

Broyles said 50 percent of basketball season ticket holders are not football season ticket holders. I would wager that 99 percent of basketball season ticket holders at Auburn and most other SEC schools are also football season ticket holders.

Reggie Herring, the former Auburn linebackers coach who moved from North Carolina State to be Arkansas' defensive coordinator, made a big impression on Broyles.

"I heard him talk to the team when he took the job," Broyles said. "I was so impressed. Our defense has been up and down. It won't be with him. They'll play a little better than they should play."

*After watching Auburn basketball coach Jeff Lebo through more than half a season, I have no doubt that he is the right man in the right place at the right time.

I don't know that I've ever seen a Southeastern Conference team more limited than Auburn. There'll problems next season, too, because the team will be extraordinarily young, but I look for Lebo to have the Tigers in championship contention in his third season.

*It is safe to assume Auburn's coaches have no clue what to expect from standout running back Antone Smith of Pahokee, Fla. Smith has visited Auburn, Miami, Florida and Florida State. He will announce his choice Wednesday afternoon. If Smith knows what he's going to do, he's not telling anybody.

As much as they would like to have him, he is not a make-or-break signee. They didn't view running back as a high priority going into recruiting, but Smith is the kind of player who could make an immediate impact as a freshman.

*The ongoing circus in Memphis will likely be over this week. Logan Young's federal trial on racketeering charges relating to his alleged payoff of defensive lineman Albert Means has put college football in a bad light.

The trial has featured a parade of unsavory and unsympathetic characters. The great irony is that Means, who was touted as one of the great defensive line prospects ever, turned out to be nothing more than ordinary.

Until next time…

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