The Atlanta Falcons’ coach Mike Smith began his Monday press conference by announcing that his defensive coordinator, Brian VanGorder, had agreed to become take the same position at Auburn University.
VanGorder is an experienced coach with stints at both the college and NFL levels, with previous experience including a 2001-04 tenure as the Georgia Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator. During that period, VanGorder won the prestigious Frank Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach in 2003. His tenure with the Bulldogs also coincided with some of Richt’s best seasons, winning two SEC East titles and an SEC Championship.
The only dent on his résumé was a disastrous 2006 season as head coach at Georgia Southern. The Eagles finished 3-8 and VanGorder moved to the Falcons as a position coach in 2007.
Other than the “oops” at Georgia Southern, VanGorder seems to be a solid hire for Auburn, who gently showed former DC Ted Roof the door after three straight years of historically poor defense.