Analyst makes curious omission discussing Auburn football OC and just one DC

Auburn Tigers defensive coordinator DJ Durkin huddles with players during practice at Woltosz
Auburn Tigers defensive coordinator DJ Durkin huddles with players during practice at Woltosz / Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

AuburnUndercover's Nathan King made a curious omission while discussing the Auburn football offensive and defensive coordinators ahead of the 2024 A-Day spring game. While directly naming offensive coordinator Derrick Nix and defensive coordinator DJ Durkin, King didn't mention co-defensive coordinator Charles Kelly in projecting what the new coaching staff's impact would be on the roster.

"Sure, this spring has been important for the Tigers to install new systems on both sides of the ball, with coordinators  and  making their inaugural impressions on their new players and the Auburn program, and vice versa," King prefaced before saying, "But as Freeze has said since the start of spring, he's just as concerned with the energy level and 'want-to' from his team."

That should make things clear on the hierarchy of AU's personnel: Durkin is the leader of the defense on the field, while Kelly is there to show face on the recruiting trail where he excels best.

Auburn football accused of being 'Last Chance U' after DJ Durkin hiring

It makes sense to have Durkin be the on-field coach of the Tigers' defense while assigning the meeting with parents portion of the gig to Kelly.'s Michael Casagrande believes that Durkin's hiring paints Auburn as a "Last Chance U" type school because of Durkin's controversies at Maryland where a player died and other players reported a toxic culture.

"Durkin was fired less than three years later following the heatstroke death of player Jordan McNair and the subsequent internal investigation that revealed further cultural issues within the program," Casagrande prefaced before saying, "McNair’s parents appeared on Good Morning America in August 2018 where his father, Martin McNair, said Durkin 'shouldn’t be able to work with anybody else’s kid.'

"Less than six years later, Durkin’s on his third full-time job. With it comes the risk associated with Auburn becoming a Second Chance U."

Durkin has been coaching in the SEC for years at both Ole Miss and Texas A&M, so Auburn being assigned the "Last Chance U" moniker is a load of horse maneuver. Obviously, the label comes from Durkin's boss, Hugh Freeze, being in charge of the program, but Lane Kiffin doesn't have a clean record and Ole Miss never had such a label slapped on them.

And after Auburn parted ways with coaches this offseason who were caught engaging in scandalous behavior, perhaps AU should get more credit for cleaning things up and making sure it doesn't condone current controversial behavior.