Upstairs, Downstairs No Issue For Veteran Coach

Auburn, Ala.--With new management on defense, the dean of the Auburn football coaching staff will have a new assignment on Saturday night. Joe Whitt will be watching the action from the press box along with fellow defensive coach Terry Price. New coordinator and secondary coach, David Gibbs, will call the defensive signals from the sideline.

"The last time I was in the press box was Coach Tubs first year (1999 season) here," Whitt notes. "I went up for that particular year. Before then, it was the 1984 season. I have only been in the press box one season since 1984."

Whitt says he is comfortable with the new assignment and won't have any trouble coaching his linebackers. "It won't be any harder," he says. "We will use the headsets and get the job done. We coach them Sunday through game time. When you get to the game, I basically watch them play. I am there for support and to make corrections and that won't be any problem at all."

Joe Whitt says he likes his 2005 linebacker group, which features All-SEC senior Travis Williams.

Whitt has coached either linebackers or defensive ends at Auburn since the 1981 season."I never had a problem seeing what is going on with the linebackers from the field, but it is a great opportunity to see everything and communicate what is happening," he says. "I am excited about it."

In addition to Whitt and defensive ends coach Price, graduate assistant coach Merritt Bowden will also be watching the defense from the press box.

Gibbs notes that it may surprise some people that he is calling the signals from the sidelines. "Those coaches are the eyes up there," he says. "Usually, your secondary coach or coordinator is up there to have better sight, but with those two guys I figure I can get away with being on the field. They not only understand the front, they understand the coverages in the back end, which gives us an advantage.

"With us having two or three new starters on the field in the secondary, I think it is important for me to be on the sideline helping them through the game. I need to help them calm down if things aren't going our way and keep the level-headed if things are going our way."

Gibbs notes that Bowden helps coach the secondary so it will be a plus having him watching the action, too, and he adds, "I have never been in the press box. I don't know how I would do up there."

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