Auburn football LB Austin Keys on DJ Durkin and staff improvements

Auburn football linebacker Austin Keys compares this year's staff to last year's and talks about being coached by new defensive coordinator DJ Durkin.

Nov 25, 2023; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Kendrick Law (19) fights for
Nov 25, 2023; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Kendrick Law (19) fights for / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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Auburn football linebacker Austin Keys compares this year's staff to last year's and talks about being coached by new defensive coordinator DJ Durkin

There were a lot of staffing changes for the Auburn football program over the offseason. Offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery, defensive coordinator Ron Roberts, associate head coach and running backs coach Cadillac Williams, secondary coach Zac Etheridge, and defensive line coach Jeremy Garrett all parted ways with the Tigers, whether they stepped down or were fired.

Former DC Ron Roberts left for a job at Florida over reported "idealogical differences" after disagreements during the season led to cornerbacks coach Wesley McGriff temporarily stepping down and nearly taking a job at Texas A&M. The defense is now headed up by defensive coordinator DJ Durkin and co-defensive coordinator Charles Kelly

With new coordinators on both sides of the ball and various new position coaches, things ought to look different this year, and hopefully, things will improve. According to Auburn football linebacker Austin Keys, things are already looking up on the defensive side of the ball.

“When I first got here we talked and he was asking what do you see in me that would help,” Keys said during a meeting with local reporters last week before spring practice, per AL.com. “And I remember saying, last year we didn’t have a person that just knew how to turn the switch on or off. Being off the field, he knows how to control his emotions. You can come to him as a person. And on the field, he knows how to switch it back on and coach football. That’s one of my biggest things that stood out with Coach Durkin.”

Tiger fans will get their first opportunity to see Austin Keys and the new defense live in action on A-Day, April 6.