Bloody Monday found its way to the Plains, y’all.
With the coaching carousel in absolute full spin right now as Lincoln Riley leaves Oklahoma for USC, and Brian Kelly bolts Notre Dame for LSU, Auburn will be searching the coaching ranks for a new offensive coordinator as Mike Bobo will not return to run the offense in 2022.
This news came two days after the Tigers scored 10 points in regulation against Alabama — and it should’ve been enough to beat the Tide — but some very questionable calls from Bobo failed to run the clock when necessary, leaving Alabama enough time to mount a fourth quarter comeback.
Auburn’s offense wasn’t bad this year, and looked downright fun at times (first halves, primarily), but a lack of consistency in play-calling (running Tank Bigsby), utilizing the team strengths (Tank Bigsby), and recognizing game situations (running clock by running Tank Bigbsy) turned out to be the downfall in the final four-game losing streak to end the regular season.
It remains to be seen exactly what impact this will have on recruiting, and which prospects will either stick or shun the Tigers based on their relationships with the former offensive coordinator. With Early Signing Day about two weeks away, Bryan Harsin will have to find a new coordinator quickly and keep together what’s shaping up to be a promising class.
As for that new coordinator, here are a few names to watch:
ERIC KIESAU - Auburn Wide Receivers Coach
This is the easiest name for Bryan Harsin. He’s a Harsin guy, has been with the head coach for a while, and slid in from off the field after the firing of Cornelius Williams to take over the receivers earlier this year. Kiesau has offensive coordinator experience at Colorado (2009-2010), Washington (2012-2013), Fresno State (2015-2016), and Boise State (2019-2020). There was a definite marked improvement in the performance of the wideouts after he took over a quarter of the way into the season, and the offense had its best stretch right after he took that on-field role. He’s already on the staff, and Harsin would then just be hiring for another position coach, depending on which position group Kiesau wanted to lead (stay with receivers or take over quarterbacks). However, there are definitely some more interesting names out there, and plenty of guys with Auburn experience in some form or fashion.
JEFF GRIMES - Baylor Offensive Coordinator
Grimes is a familiar name with Auburn fans, but you’ve got to go back two coaching staffs to remember him. He served as offensive line coach under Gene Chizik, helping to coach a national championship offensive line, and build another unit that would reach the title game the year after he left.
After leaving Auburn, Grimes has been a bit of a journeyman, stopping at Virginia Tech and LSU as offensive line coach before getting the coordinator gig at BYU from 2018-2020 and then heading over to Dave Aranda’s staff at Baylor this season.
One of the biggest feathers in his cap is his ability to identify offensive line talent and bring in solid guys to build a truly stout front. Looking at his list of top all-time recruits, you recognize names from his time at Auburn and LSU, and plenty of these guys weren’t super highly-rated, but turned out to be super contributors or lengthy starters during their time on campus.
With Grimes currently coaching at Baylor, and the Bears being in the Big 12 Championship Game against Oklahoma State this coming Saturday, there likely wouldn’t be any news if he was the hire, and you know that Harsin wants to announce something quickly. He’d be a great fit in terms of recruiting and scheme, but the way he left after 2012 might still stick in his craw a bit.
DELL McGEE - Georgia Running Backs Coach
Do you want to do this thing and build up talent like Auburn’s never seen? Give Dell McGee the reins and let him call plays while loading the cupboard with the kind of guys that make up championship teams.
He’s wanted to call plays for years, and he started his college coaching career as an analyst with Auburn in 2013 after playing in the defensive backfield in the early-to-mid-90s for Terry Bowden. After moving to Georgia Southern and serving as interim head coach in 2015, he moved to Athens to coach running backs and uh... started bringing in the whales.
Just look at this list of names he’s responsible for bringing to Georgia and tell me you wouldn’t love to see him doing the same at Auburn. Is his inexperience in calling plays the payoff for bringing this type of talent to the Plains? There are plenty of people willing to make that tradeoff.
DAN MULLEN - Ex-Florida head coach
Never, any of you morons posting his name are kidding yourself and hate Auburn. The man tried to torpedo this program with the Cam Newton situation as he tried to deflect his own cheating onto us. Slimy, doesn’t recruit, and his offense is starting to get as stale as Gus’ was. The only good thing he could possibly do is somehow get a cheating scandal to stick at either Bama or Georgia and bring them down before firing himself into the sun.