Tuberville Maps Out Coaching Search Strategy

Tommy Tuberville says he knows exactly what he wants when hiring a new defensive coordinator.

Auburn, Ala.--Whether he hires another defensive coordinator with NFL experience or someone who has only coached on the collegiate level, Tommy Tuberville says the man who replaces David Gibbs will not be making major changes in style with the Auburn defense.

"We have got a good staff here," Tuberville says. "They have worked together consistently and we are going to bring in somebody who can do that.

"We are going to have my philosophy on defense," the Auburn head coach notes. "We are going to run the defensive philosophy we have recruited for. We are not going to change and all of the sudden not have the personnel to run it.

"The new guy who will come in will learn a lot of what we are doing," Tuberville adds. "I always love to bring in some new ideas. David did a good job. Gene (Chizik) did a good job adding a few things that made us better. You are always going to do that.

"We are still going to be a four-man front and run some five-man front. We are going to be aggressive. We are going to use the type of players we have been recruiting and put as much speed out there as we can get."

On Thursday night, Gibbs accepted a job with the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs. In addition to being defensive coordinator, the former Denver Broncos secondary coach handled the defensive backs at Auburn.

Tuberville has not said if there will be any other coaching staff changes, although there is a possibility that veteran AU assistant coach Joe Whitt will move into a role as an AU administrator. When asked if that would be the case, AU officials would neither confirm or deny that.

If Tuberville follows the formula he used for his last defensive coordinator hire, a strong candidate for the post is Chuck Pagano, who has experience in the NFL and college ranks and has a reputation for being a strong secondary coach. Pagano, who coached for the Oakland Raiders last season after spending four years with the NFL's Cleveland Browns, is a coach whose resume has sparked interest from Tuberville on several occasions. Another coach that could be involved is Miami Dolphin assistant Will Muschamp, who is a former GA at Auburn.

AU's three coordinators for Tuberville, John Lovett, Chizik and Gibbs, all handled duties as a defensive backs coach while at Auburn.

When asked if the next Auburn defensive coordinator will be a secondary coach, too, Tuberville says, "It just depends. It depends on their preference. Obviously the secondary is very important. If you put somebody back there who doesn't know what they are doing, you are asking for problems.

"He might be the best coach in the world at running back, but that doesn't mean he can coach the secondary. That will show up a lot quicker than a quarterback coach will who is not getting the job done."

Tuberville says he got a head start on the job search when Gibbs told him a week before leaving that it was a possibility he would be returning to the NFL.

"I have already started looking knowing that David was looking," Tuberville says. "When there is a chance you might lose somebody, you have to start getting your information together and start looking. Of course, I have a book about as thick as a Sears catalog on guys that I know that are on my page. I will also have a lot of people who will call who are good football coaches, but I am not going to change our style of defense because that is what they know.

"It is like when I hired Al (offensive coordinator Al Borges)," Tuberville adds. "People didn't understand that, but Al knew a lot what of we were doing already and he understood a lot of different offenses, not just one.

"I am looking for a guy who, obviously, has to have had coordinator experience. I want somebody who has done it and who understands recruiting who can work with our staff and fit in like a glove in a matter of days. Three weeks from Tuesday, we crank it up and we are not going to postpone spring practice."


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