Could Auburn Be Missing Tracy Rocker More Than Expected?

Michael AbbottContributor IIISeptember 19, 2011

CIRCA -1988:  Tracy Rocker #74 of Auburn University moves on the field during a game against the Georgia Tech circa 1988 . (Photo by: Allen Steele/Getty Images)
Allen Steele/Getty Images

The one coach missing from the 2011 Auburn Tigers is Tracy Rocker. Rocker was a Outland and Lombardi winner in the '80s for the Tigers. He dominated the line of scrimmage and had to be double teamed on a regular basis, freeing up the linebackers to make plays.

Could Auburn be missing him once again?

Rocker was a enthusiastic coach that wanted results. He wasn't big on lining up exactly correct; he was interested in getting after the quarterback and making plays. He had a mean streak when he went on the field and made the defense the game-changer a Auburn defense should be.

Nick Fairley reminded me so much of him. He'd tell the offensive linemen, "I'm going to kick your ass for the next 60 minutes." Tracy would do the same thing when he played. He was aggressive and got after you until the final whistle blew.

The 2011 Tigers defense seems to be missing that. I agree they are young and I know the talent is there, but they seem to be lacking the confidence that they've had in years past.

Last year's Tigers were great against the run. The defense as a whole wasn't great, but the linemen got the job done.After the Clemson game Saturday, you couldn't see that fire and desire to beat the man in front of them.

I wonder now how much of that was due to the style that coach Rocker brought to the team?

Tracy has produced All-American linemen at Arkansas, Ole Miss and Auburn. He took an Ole Miss team in 2008 and helped lead them to a school record in sacks and was second in the SEC against the rush. At Arkansas he had several top-five finishes in the SEC and led the conference in 2006 for tackles for loss.

Tracy set a standard for what a defensive lineman should be when he played at Auburn and as a coach. I think the Auburn team will miss him more the second time around.