Update, 5:50 p.m.: Auburn Coach Gene Chizik told the Birmingham News on Thursday that he will serve as defensive coordinator when the Tigers face Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
“We found me,” Chizik told the paper. “It’d be really hard for a guy to come in be a defensive coordinator in a week.”
Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof has left the Tigers to take the same position at Central Florida, according to multiple reports. Central Florida has yet to make an official announcement.
But assuming the reports are true — and there’s no reason to believe they’re not — this means Auburn (7-5) will be looking to fill a critical position on its coaching staff in advance of its matchup against Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31. It’s also possible the Tigers could promote from within on an interim basis and make a permanent hire after the bowl game. Regardless, this is one additional thing Auburn Coach Gene Chizik has to address while preparing his team to face the Cavaliers (8-4).
Roof orchestrated the Auburn defense for the past three seasons. Last year, armed with a rushing defense that ranked No. 9 in the nation (109.1 yards per game allowed), the Tigers won the Bowl Championship Series national title.
This season, the Tigers’ defense was nowhere near the same caliber and, consequently, Roof had come under scrutiny. Auburn ranked No. 99 in the nation in run defense (194.8 ypg allowed), No. 79 in scoring defense (29.3 ppg allowed) and No. 78 in total defense (405.8 ypg allowed) this fall. The Tigers ranked No. 45 in the country in pass defense (211 ypg allowed).