It's early Monday morning, so your newest confirmed Auburn coach is still ... Jay Boulware, who coached running backs and special teams at Iowa St. with Chizik. And apparently did better work than, say, Wayne Bolt did coaching LBs and coordinating the Cyclone D; Boulware becomes the first guy Chizik has officially brought with him from Ames.
At Auburn, Boulware will be Auburn's special teams coordinator exclusively. Hazarding a guess at how well Jay Boulware will coach said special teams is a bit above my pay grade, but I will say this: I fully support Chizik's allocation of an entire assistant coaching position to special teams. Not that Auburn's 2008 special teams were bad--kickoffs and placekicking left juuuuuuuuust a bit to be desired, but coverage and returns were generally good--but those units are just too important to take the grab-bag approach if you ask me. A lot of college football coaches who really have forgotten more about football than I'll ever know--Mark Richt among them, if I'm not mistaken--have disagreed. But the reason I know Mark Richt's among them is because Georgia's fans have been complaining about their special teams all season ... as well as, wouldn't you know it, the lack of a dedicated special teams coach.
But, um, am I allowed to ask where the defensive coaches are? Not really: as has been pointed out a couple of places, including this nice where-we-stand post from Woodberry, Chizik already know what he wants to see out of the defense. He just has to find the guys that put that vision into practice, and with the amount of returning talent Auburn has on that side of the ball, on paper that shouldn't be nearly so much of a challenge as giving Auburn's Glass Joe offense even a puncher's chance of hanging in the SEC.
That said, it would be nice to have some idea of where we're headed as far the defensive coordinator's chair is concerned. Ted Roof is the current hot name (as Woodberry points out) and he'd probably be a fine choice. For a guy who's already got several years of head coaching experience under his belt and was up for the Broyles Award as Georgia Tech's DC way back in 2000, he's still way young: just 45, and if the whole Duke head coach thing work out for him, he's been nothing as a success as a DC.
Coleman! The official JCCW position re: Coleman's return remains "Holy crap! Holy crap! Holy crap!" Pulling an Auburn hard hat out of your bookbag at a hometown press conference must have created a pretty sweet moment, but from here it still seems like an unusual amount of fanfare for a routine "comin' back announcement." As weapons-grade Wrong! as my assumption that presser would signal the end of his Auburn career was, my take on this (emphasis added, from the above Andy Bitter link) ...
Slowly Coleman began to lean the other way, however. He met with new Auburn coach Gene Chizik after he was hired and later on New Year's Day to discuss coming back. "He instilled a lot of thought and a lot of pride into what he's going to do at Auburn University and I think he's going to do something special," Coleman said. "I want to be that guy (to) come back and help turn that program around and get it back to where it's supposed to be."... is that up until that New Year's Day meeting, Coleman was a goner. Which would make that one hell of a sales job by Auburn's new head coach. Who says he can't recruit?
(As an aside, between the "Best of luck, Antonio" stance and the pooh-poohing of Ole Miss's Cotton Bowl chances, last week was proof of how you just shouldn't try the sort of cutting-edge football analysis you get at the JCCW at home, folks. Leave it to us FOOTBALL EXPERTS who have both Texas Tech and Central Michigan in their top 5 "confidence" picks in their bowl pool.)
C.R.E.A.M. Lost amidst the predictable Keanu-style Whoa!'s in response to Auburn paying their new RB coach 400K a year and Tennessee and LSU battling to see who could offer Ed Orgeron the most virgins is that neither Auburn nor Tennessee are paying their new head guys what we might expect to be "market value" for an SEC head coach. Any cries of viva la revolucion are obviously a little bit premature, but Auburn and the Vols' approach does seem to represent perhaps a new way of financial thinking in the SEC: hire a less splashy but cheaper head coach, then back him with the cash saved on his salary to put together the best staff money and a stable full of pure-bred Arabian racehorses can buy.
So, is this a stroke-of-genius or merely lipstick on the pigs that Chizik and Kiffin might be? Dude, hell if I know. Final verdict won't come until next fall and subsequent falls, I guess. But at the very least it's preferable to paying someone like Steve Spurrier crazy money, right?
Heart attack and die from Not Surprise. Tommy Tuberville's apparently the newest hand on deck for the good battleship ESPN, though I personally didn't see his appearance and don't recall reading anything about it anywhere else, which is pretty weird given the Alabama media's obsession with all things remotely football coaching-related. In any case, it's not surprising that this very early review of Tubby's work was positive: the guy's always been way too good in front of the media not to have a future in the TV biz. At the very least, I'd think he'd be better at it than the less-affable Fulmer, who himself wasn't a disaster in ESPN's weekend studio work.
Bloggity bits. I've written a few things during my time here that I didn't expect to go over especially well with Auburn fans, and I'm sure I'll write a couple more in the future, but man, I don't know if I'll ever top Saurian Sagacity writing that an undefeated Mountain West team deserves an equal share of the national title on the eve of their own Gators appearing in the BCS national championship game. No one's ever going to accuse Mergz of not sticking to his principles, that's for sure.
Also, as I'm a sucker for any bloggery beatdown of Stewart Mandel, I have to heartily recommend this post from Blutarsky. And if you're wondering where Auburn's men's hoops team stands going into conference play, you could probably do worse than Garnet and Black Attack's SEC Power Poll for a rough guide, though I can't say it offers much good news: even after acknowledging the good work that Lebo's done to this point in the season (and yes, I think dropping no more than one game to inferior opposition qualifies as "good work" with this bunch), Auburn still rates ninth.
And lastly, reader John sent me the following video so I could check out the sweet-ass Georgia jacket rocked by the AK-47, but when you live in Michigan, the real highlight becomes the incredible drawl on offer from the Sheriff's deputy. Oh southern local news, I miss you so.