Report: Taylor Joins Luper on Auburn Staff

A report out of Auburn virtually confirms that Oklahoma State co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor is going to join the Auburn coaching staff of Gene Chizik. Reports indicate that the Auburn staff is about to go into a Sunday afternoon staff meeting and that Taylor will be joining the staff in that meeting.

Reports also indicate that Oklahoma State had a morning staff meeting and that Taylor was not present at that gathering.

Auburn has already announced the hiring of OSU assistant head coach/running backs coach Curtis Luper. Luper, a former Oklahoma State player, was speculated to now be making $400,000 annually at Auburn.

There are connections that explain all of this activity as Luper coached with Chizik after using his final year of eligibility playing running back at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Luper called Chizik a "mentor" of his in the coaching business. Taylor and Luper are close, and Taylor, a former Baylor player and assistant coach that served with Mike Gundy on Chuck Reedy's staff at Baylor, has been coaching in the SEC at Tennessee and was there during the time that Chizik coached the defense at Auburn.

Taylor, known as an ace recruiter had not pulled in any prime players yet to Oklahoma State, but has shown himself as a player's coach. Taylor is in demand as he had reportedly interviewed with head coach Randy Shannon for a position at Miami, Fla. There were also reports that Taylor was being courted by his former school Tennessee, which has gone off the scale in hiring new head coach Lane Kiffin's father, Monte, as defensive coordinator for over $1 million in annual salary and just hired former Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron as assistant head coach and offensive line coach for $700,000 a year.

Now Oklahoma State and Gundy have four open positions with the possibility of a fifth. The open jobs are defensive coordinator, running backs coach, wide receivers coach, and director of football operations.

The possible fifth position would be coordinator of recruiting as Robert Matthews decided not to go to Toledo with former OSU defensive coordinator Tim Beckman to coach running backs. While Matthews remains at Oklahoma State he is very interested in an on the field coaching position. The way things are happening, and with Matthews' contacts, that could happen soon. Matthews' wife, Laura, is also looking for a position after resigning as head coach of the Oklahoma State women's golf team.

The most critical hire is the defensive coordinator job because it will play a larger role in the immediate future of the program. I think it is safe to say that Gundy will be looking outside the staff for the new coordinator.

Obviously, logical and interesting candidates have come up like former SMU head coach and veteran defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, former Iowa State head coach and defensive mind Dan McCarney, current Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, former Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis, former Ole Miss defensive coordinator John Thompson, and Gary Darnell is out there somewhere. There are all kinds of candidates. This position has to be the most immediate for Gundy.

There is also the director of football operations and this could be filled from within. Dale Patterson is the assistant director of football operations. Former Texas A&M director of on-campus recruiting Johnny Barr, who also has coached at Oklahoma State and is familiar with Gundy, has experience in this area and currently lives in Stillwater. Again, this could be a job that is filled from within or Gundy could go outside.

The two positions on staff left vacant by Luper and Taylor will almost certainly be filled from outside and African-American candidates would be given a heavy preference. The exception might be with Matthews, who has worked hard and done a good job. Gundy has said in the past that he would entertain the thought of adding Matthews to the coaching staff if he had the right position open. Now he might. Of course, the Matthews also may have other options out there with both Robert and Laura being coaches.

Fans are in a panic but shouldn't be because this happens. It wasn't totally expected, but it wasn't totally unexpected either. When you win games and your program is moving up, your people become more enticing and schools looking to move up will come it and try to take them away. Auburn and new head coach Gene Chizik have done. exactly that.

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