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Is there an end in sight for Auburn’s defensive coordinator search?

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn watches his team practice for the Birmingham Bowl at Hoover High School’s football stadium Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (Michael Niziolek | mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com)
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn watches his team practice for the Birmingham Bowl at Hoover High School’s football stadium Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (Michael Niziolek | mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com)

Is Auburn’s search for a new defensive coordinator winding down? Maybe.

After the team wrapped up a morning Birmingham Bowl practice session Sunday at Hoover High School, coach Gus Malzahn didn’t spend much time addressing his search for Will Muschamp’s replacement.

The only substantive update Malzahn gave on a search entering its fourth week is that he plans to hire someone “in the near future.”

Malzahn was pressed for details multiple times, but declined to provide any additional information.

“I’m not going to go any further than I feel good about where we are at,” Malzahn said.

Auburn linebackers coach Lance Thompson is calling the defense this week with Travis Williams filling in Thompson’s role with the linebackers, Blake Gideon coaching the secondary and Rodney Gardner coaching the defensive line.

Malzahn and defensive players praised the way the group has held down the fort in the absence of a full-time defensive coordinator.

“Coach Thompson and the guys have done and excellent job getting the guys ready,” Malzahn said.

Thompson is maintaining Muschamp’s high level of intensity and fostering the competitive environment the new South Carolina coach preached during his season on the Plains.

“Nothing has changed since coach Muschamp left,” defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert said. “They still hard on us, everything is tough. The guys have responded well. I think they have responded real well. It’s been the same atmosphere.”

It's unknown whether Thompson is a candidate for Auburn's defensive coordinator vacancy. Malzahn has refused to discuss potential candidates throughout the process.

“I’m not going to get into any kind of names,” Malzahn said when asked about Thompson interviewing for the job in early December. “I’m going after the best guy.”

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