David Gibbs, who head coach Tommy Tuberville named as Auburn's new defensive coordinator, says he is looking forward to to coming "home" to Auburn.
The former college defensive coordinator and NFL assistant coach is familiar with the turf at Auburn, where his father Alex Gibbs was an offensive line coach for the Tigers more than two decades ago.
"I want to thank Coach Tuberville for bringing me back home," Gibbs says. "I always considered Auburn to be my home town and I'm excited to be back. I understand the great tradition and the great power of SEC football and it's going to be a great challenge and a great opportunity for me."
Gibbs graduated from Auburn High School, where he was an outstanding athlete who later was successful as a football player at the University of Colorado.
"I've got a lot of friends and family around the area," he says. "My dad coached there and I sold programs on game days and being around all the great players back in the good ole' days--it is special for me. I understand the challenge.
"Auburn football is a way of life down there. You have to win football games or people are going to get after your butt, and rightfully so. That's the way it is at Auburn and that's the way it is in the SEC."
The Auburn defense led the nation in points allowed per game in 2004 at 11.2 under defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, who accepted a job as assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at the University of Texas. Although Chizik is gone Gibbs said he still plans on running the same type schemes out of a 4-3 alignment.
"They were so good on defense this past year," Gibbs notes. "There's no reason for anyone to come in and make a major overhaul. There are some techniques and different things that I'll be able to bring to the table with my experience--not only being in the NFL but being a (college) coordinator in the past.
"Hopefully, I'll add on to what they've done and add to the package a little bit," he adds. "I'm not crazy enough to think that I'm going to come in here and change everything.
"We're excited and we've got some great coaches coming back--(linebacker) Coach (Joe) Whitt, (tackles) Coach (Don) Dunn and (ends) Coach (Terry) Price--and we've got some great players coming back and we're looking forward to what they've done."
Gibbs has not yet met with his players but he says he's eager to get to Auburn on Thursday and to get to know all of his personnel. He adds that most of the fundamentals and terminology will stay the same.
Gibbs spent his college days as a defense back for the Colorado Buffaloes from 1986-1990. It's no wonder that Gibbs became a student of the game with a father in the coaching business and playing under a Bill McCartney coaching staff that consisted of more than a couple notable assistants--Lou Tepper, Gerry DiNardo, Gary Barnett, Steve Logan and Les Miles.
The Buffaloes posted a 37-10-1 record and won the 1990 AP National Championship while Gibbs was playing in Boulder. They also finished with an undefeated regular season in 1989 before falling to Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl.
Following his senior season in 1990 Gibbs spent the next two seasons as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma and two more as a graduate assistant at Colorado before earning a spot coaching Kansas' secondary from 1995-1996.
After his two-year stint in Lawrence, Kan., Gibbs took over as the defensive coordinator for the University of Minnesota where he inherited the worst defense in Big 10 in every major statistical category.
Gibbs produced several solid defenses and a Jim Thorpe Award Winner, Tyrone Carter, and then moved on to Denver to coach the Broncos safeties in 2001 and all defensive backs from 2002-2004. He says coming back to the college level is something that he always kept open as an option and he's looking forward to coaching the Auburn players on and off the field.
"The big difference (between the NFL and college) is you really have a chance at the college level to help a young man mature into an adult and you have ability to mold them and not only help them on the football field, but off the football field," he says. "I loved college football when I was in it and I still love it."