Who are potential candidates to follow Will Muschamp and guide Auburn defense?
Will Muschamp is moving on to bigger and better things just as the tide was starting to turn for the Auburn defense.
Seniors on this year’s Auburn squad were playing under their third defensive coordinator in four years. This year’s unit wasn’t great compared to other SEC defenses, but it still only allowed 27 points per game and was appeared to be on the rise. Auburn lost six SEC games, but LSU was the only squad to score more than 30 points against the Tigers defense in regulation.
Secondary coach Travaris Robinson was a likely candidate to fill the void. But reports surfaced Sunday that he will follow Muschamp to South Carolina. So who will take over as the Auburn defensive coordinator?
Let’s take a look at a few potential replacements.
1. Georgia DC Jeremy Pruitt — A hot name in SEC circles, Pruitt is currently Georgia’s defensive coordinator, but likely won’t return now that Kirby Smart as taken over. Many believe that Pruitt will head to Alabama, but you can’t rule out Auburn. Guz Malzahn would like to hire a proven coordinator who will stay more than a year.
2. Auburn LB coach Lance Thompson — Another name connected to Muschamp at South Carolina. But not so fast. While this would be far from a sexy hire at Auburn, at least there would be some consistency and familiarity. Thompson appears to be interested in the opening. He also is reported to have an offer to join Smart.
3. Former East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill — Many people were surprised when McNeill was fired last week. He is known as a “players” coach with a defensive mentality. He was also groomed by Pat Dye, which could be a valuable connection.
4. Florida State DC Charles Kelly — Kelly has been instrumental to Florida State’s success. The Seminoles defense was ranked No. 16 this season but it may not be likely that Auburn could sway him from Tallahassee.
5. Georgia Southern DC Jack Curtis — He has ties to Birmingham, but may not be proven enough to take over at Auburn. His defense ranks No. 21 in the country and was the key to leading Georgia Southern to a Sun Belt championship.