Yesterday we learned that Ellis Johnson has been relieved of his duties as Auburn defensive coordinator. This morning's Coffee and Magnolia updated you with what little we know and or think judging from other beat writers. So let's talk a little more now about the situation as a whole.
I suspect - as do most - that Auburn will move very quickly. Whomever Auburn hires, I doubt it will be someone who runs Ellis Johnson's 4-2-5 defense, so there will be a need to implement a new system. Teams institute new schemes during spring and fall practice all the time, but if the chance is there to have more time before the first game of the 2015 season, then you take it, right?
That's why I believe Johnson was fired on Sunday. Gus Malzahn wants a new defensive coordinator in place before bowl practices start. Auburn's defense may not perform very well during the bowl game (but then, they haven't been performing great to begin with), but bowl games are meaningless outside of the playoff. So, having a DC in place before bowl practices begin gives the team an extra 15 practices to put the new system in place. It means that when spring practice rolls around, the veterans will already have experience with the fundamentals.
So, who do we go after? Coffee and Magnolia contained this link about 5 potential candidates, but I'm providing it here again for ease.
Their list? Muschamp, Bo Pelini, Charles Kelly (FSU DC), Manny Diaz (Louisiana Tech), and Dave Aranda (Wisconsin DC).
I would go ahead and scrap Pelini and Kelly. Pelini will likely get another head coaching gig somewhere. He won 9 games almost every season at Nebraska and there are plenty of schools that would kill for that. Kelly is in the midst of a playoff run with FSU and I highly doubt he bails on the Noles, even though he is a former Auburn player under Coach Dye.
So we're going to Muschamp, Diaz, and Aranda.
Diaz would be an interesting choice. He wasn't very successful at Texas, but his defenses at Mississippi State and Louisiana Tech have been pretty good. He's been able to slow down Gus Malzahn as much as anyone else has, and that could be a help to Coach Malzahn just for looking at tendencies and places he's vulnerable.
Aranda's stats are fantastic. I think he would be a pretty good choice. My only trepidation lies in how his defensive ideas would translate to the SEC, but I think he would do just fine.
Muschamp... Well, Muschamp is Muschamp. We know what he can do at Auburn. He would be fantastic. Especially if he brings Travaris Robinson home with him.
Are there other names out there? I wouldn't doubt that there are. We'll hear some floated soon, but don't be surprised if Auburn makes a swift hire. We will update this as names emerge or when a hire is made.
Personally, I'm hoping for a BOOM.