Posted by Adam Jacobi
The problem with trying to create a dynasty in college football is the sheer impermanence of it all. Not only are the players gone after four (or sometimes fewer) seasons of eligibility, but college football isn't the highest level of the sport; that, of course, is the NFL, and the NFL is a much more attractive destination for coaches than the NCAA.
To that end, Auburn had been surprisingly lucky to keep its entire staff intact* after winning the national championship this season. Oh, you see that asterisk? That usually means bad news, and it does here, as Auburn DL coach Tracy Rocker has accepted an offer to coach defensive line with the Tennessee Titans.
Now, the loss of DT Nick Fairley is probably more consequential to the defensive line in the short term than is the loss of Rocker; Fairley was dominant all season long in 2010, especially in the National Championship against Oregon, and he has well earned his inevitable Top 3 Pick status in the upcoming NFL Draft. At the same time, Fairley is especially cognizant of how much Rocker meant to his success, and for good reason; Fairley wasn't even on the radar for top defensive tackles coming into the season, to the point that prognosticator nonpareil Phil Steele didn't have Fairley in his top four preseason All-SEC teams.
The good news for Auburn is that unlike 2009, when Gene Chizik first came abord fresh off a 5-19 stint at Iowa State, the school is now a bona fide destination again, rather than a mere stepping stone. Chizik should probably be able to pluck a fine coach from any number of schools. Perhaps from Indiana? That seems to be en vogue these days, anyway.
*Up until now, anyway.