As expected, the Auburn Tigers had a down season in 2011, going 8-5 a year after going undefeated and winning the BCS National Championship.
The relative mediocrity of Auburn's 2011 campaign was made worse by the departures of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and defensive coordinator Ted Roof.
The Tigers introduced Roof's replacement, Brian VanGorder, on Wednesday. Courtesy of Charles Goldberg of The Birmingham News (and other publications), we know that VanGorder said all the right things at his introductory presser, even saying that Auburn's DC position is an "elite job."
VanGorder, formerly the defensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, also said he's ready to hit the recruiting trail right away.
"I'm really looking forward to that," VanGorder said. "I feel like as a father of five, I understand a 17 and 18-year-old much better than I did a few years ago. I have three in college right now...yeah, three.
"Auburn has a lot of great things to present to a young man. That's where I am. I'm looking forward to be honest and upfront with the opportunity here at Auburn."
This is a good thing, of course. Though Auburn has compiled a pretty good recruiting class so far, the team could use a few more star recruits to allow itself to catch up with its SEC competition. Though Rivals.com has Auburn's 2012 recruiting class as the No. 17 class in the country, it's the fifth-best class in the SEC.
Alabama, Auburn's arch-nemesis, is No. 1 in both departments.
Per Rivals, the Tigers are circling a number of upper-crust defensive recruits, including five-star defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. The addition of VanGorder will at least allow recruits to know who they would be dealing with. At best, VanGorder will end up being a sort of tractor beam for much-needed talent.
VanGorder will soon have help on the offensive side of things, too. Head coach Gene Chizik said the team is making progress in terms of finding a new offensive coordinator to replace Malzahn.
Whoever ends up replacing Malzahn will have large shoes to fill. He helped recruit 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and recently departed running back Michael Dyer, among others. Without them, the Tigers don't win the title in 2010.
Just as the Tigers are circling some top-shelf defensive talent, they're also circling some elite offensive talent. They're in on wide receivers Dorial Green-Beckham and Stefon Diggs, both of whom are five-star players.
The Tigers still have time to make a late recruiting push, but not much. National Signing Day is looming on Feb. 1, giving Auburn just a couple weeks to make a move to catch up with its SEC contemporaries.
We shall see if VanGorder and [enter future OC name here] can make a difference.
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