AL.com's Matt Cohen reports that Hugh Freeze could hand co-offensive coordinator roles to analyst Kent Austin and Ole Miss WR coach/assistant head coach Derrick Nix in the wake of mass coaching turnover that has seen Philip Montgomery, Ron Roberts, and Cadillac Williams be dismissed or leave during the first two weeks of January.
'How Auburn will divide out the offensive coordinator title could be fluid," Cohen prefaced before saying, "Freeze has options. With the much larger role he plans to have in the offense, Freeze may as well be effectively the offensive coordinator himself. He could, should he hire both, give a co-offensive coordinator title to both Austin and Nix.
"Should one person be given the solo title of offensive coordinator? Nix — should he be hired — would appear the most likely candidate as an incentive to leave Oxford."
Montgomery was fired and will be owed his guaranteed $3 million payout, but Roberts took a job under Billy Napier at Florida and on January 11, Cadillac shockingly mutually parted ways with AU.
Auburn football coaching staff wasn't in alignment during 2023 season
It was Freeze's first season at AU in 2023, but it still felt disappointing at points given the fourth-ranked transfer class and the general momentum the Bryan Harsin era concluding, coupled with Freeze's arrival, seemingly brought.
Now, with all of the staff turnover, it's clear what the problem was: a lack of coaching alignment between Freeze and his underlings.
The Montgomery issues were clear. Freeze oftentimes threw the former Tulsa head coach under the bus for not implementing the RPO more, and credited himself whenever the offense was humming. There was seeminglt never alignment between Freeze and his OC.
Roberts was a different story. His gameplans were great for the main rivalry games (Georgia, Alabama) but his unit was seldom prepared in the fourth quarter during big games; getting burned on critical drives that cost them the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry, Iron Bowl, and Ole Miss matchups. There was also the New Mexico State game and Music City Bowl, though, and those defensive duds were ultimately his undoing from a narrative perspective.
As for Cadillac? His running backs have been the strong suit for Auburn's offenses dating back to his arrival, particularly in 2022 and 2023, but his interim head coaching stint post-Harsin firing gave him too much gravity. The Gadsden native was always going to be a symbol of what Auburn football passed on at head coach but could still entertain, and the 2023 season saw Robby Ashford, who led AU to a 2-2 record under Williams, make a push to get the RB coach back at the program's helm at Freeze's expense. Obviously, it wasn't successful, and now Ashford and Williams are both gone.