While the scheme remains the same, Coach Tommy Tuberville said that Gibbs will bring a different dimension to the defense because of his time in the NFL.
"David Gibbs was hired here for several different reasons," Tuberville says. "He has a lot of knowledge about the college and pro ranks. I was very interested in getting somebody that runs the 4-3, like we run here, from the pro ranks to give us a little bit more of an idea about what to do in situation football.
"Everybody is getting more into situation football and that has really only happened in the last six or seven years," Tuberville notes. "I thought if there was anything we lacked defensively this past year, it was being able to have a match-up defense in certain games. David has a lot of experience in that."
Stanley McClover is one of the key Tiger defenders for 2005.
Part of the situational football that Tuberville talks about is in the passing game, where the Tigers struggled some late in games in which they held a sizeable lead. Gibbs plans to incorporate more pass rushers on the field at one time in obvious situations, such as playing ends Stanley McClover and Quentin Groves at defensive tackle, to help against the pass. Tuberville said that's something the NFL is already doing and he believes it's something he needs to incorporate into Auburn's defensive scheme now instead of later.
"I hired him, number one, because he's a good football coach and he believes in fundamentals and techniques," Tuberville says. "He's also a 4-3 guy, something that was probably one of the most important things. The other was the opportunity to bring experience from the level of the pros, where they are all situation football defensively. I don't think that has gotten down to college as much as it probably will the next few years. Hopefully, he can take us to another level and have better match-ups than we did in certain games."
A veteran of both the college and NFL game despite his young age, Gibbs will draw on the experience as both a position coach and coordinator for the Tigers as he also coaches the secondary. Tuberville says that is something that Gibbs is excited about and he's looking forward to being able to work on fundamentals and the basics with players once again.
"He wanted to get into pro ball, which a lot of these guys do," Tuberville says. "I think he just saw the light. A lot of guys like professional football for different reasons. David is more of a football guy that enjoys the teaching and fundamentals.
"There is not as much fundamentals in pro ball as he would tell you, that there is in college. He likes the fundamental teaching in college football and I think that's one of the things that enticed him back to college. There have been several people that have tried to hire him, even since he's been here in the last few weeks, back into pro football, but he enjoys college football. He wants to be a college football coach and we're excited about that."