On Friday, news leaked that Auburn’s two year DB coach Greg Brown was planning on leaving the Plains to join Purdue’s staff.
Three departures from Auburn's coaching staff since the end of the season. Greg Brown expected to be the third to leave Auburn (and the first on defense): https://t.co/eTf3ajWggl— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) February 15, 2019
On the surface, that seems like an odd move for Auburn’s now former veteran DB coach. But a quick look at Brown’s resume and you realize it’s more shocking he was on the Plains for two seasons. Brown is a frequent job hopper never really staying anywhere more than two years at best.
|Brown's Coaching Career|
|1984||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|1985||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|1986||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|1995-96||San Diego Chargers|
|1999||San Francisco 49ers|
|2002-05||New Orleans Saints|
Auburn will miss Brown in my opinion. His recruiting prowess wasn’t exactly feared when he landed on the Plains but since coming to Auburn the Tigers have signed five 4* DBs. He wasn’t the lead guy on all those but his teamwork with Kevin Steele and then Marcus Woodson proved to be an outstanding recruiting tandem. Auburn’s secondary was also solid under his watch. That group has been far from perfect but the development of guys like Daniel Thomas, Noah Igbinoghene and Jordyn Peters was fun to see.
However, that position will apparently not be vacant long. Auburn has reportedly moved quickly to replace to Brown and have turned to a familiar face.
Wesley McGriff left Auburn in mid December to take over as defensive coordinator for Ole Miss. His tenure with the Rebels proved, well, not great resulting in his firing this past November.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched the Rebels play defense over the past two seasons. Ole Miss finished 113th in defensive S&P+ in McGriff’s first season and rank 109th in this year. The unit never gained its footing under McGriff’s watch, looking slow, out of sorts, and unable to execute game in and game out. There is no hiding that the defense has been an issue for the past three seasons, it was on full display for the entire nation to see for 12 weeks in 2018.
The good news is Auburn is not hiring McGriff to run the defense. He will return to his specialty as DB coach alongside Marcus Woodson.
McGriff is a well respected DB coach but an even more respected recruiter. His first stint on the Plains did not allow for enough time for Auburn to see that in action. He flipped Traivon Leonard from North Carolina before heading off to Ole Miss but his early departure resulted in Auburn missing on elite S prospect 4* Devon Hunter who was set to pick the Tigers at the Army All-America Game just a few weeks later.
His recruiting profile is quite impressive though including the likes of Robert Nkemdiche, Tony Conner and Storm Johnson. Hopefully this time around, Auburn will be able to see that in action. Auburn made the state of Mississippi a priority in the 2019 cycle with Woodson. Adding McGriff back to the staff should continue that moving forward.
McGriff was linked with numerous job openings after his firing. Georgia was rumored to have targeted the Tifton, Georgia native but elected instead to steal away Florida’s DB coach. It was then reported that he was set to join Florida State’s staff but that move was never officially announced by the Noles’ athletic department. I guess we now know why.
Barring another surprise move, Auburn’s coaching staff appears set heading into the 2019 campaign. The Tigers lost Chip Lindsey, Tim Horton and Greg Brown this offseason replacing them with Kenny Dillingham, Carnell Williams and Wesley McGriff. It seems clear to me that Malzahn put a premium on bringing in top notch recruiters. That makes sense considering the firepower that now surrounds them at Tuscaloosa, Athens and Knoxville. We will see if these moves result in Auburn’s return to the top 10 in the recruiting rankings but more importantly more wins on the field this fall.