Rumored Auburn football co-DC hiring would not come without controversy: Analyst

Maryland v Rutgers
Maryland v Rutgers / G Fiume/GettyImages

Hugh Freeze's rumored top target for the Auburn football co-defensive coordinator -- one who would share duties with Colorado defect Charles Kelly -- position, DJ Durkin, would not come without controversy, relays Saturday Down South's Spenser Davis.

"Hiring Durkin would not come without some controversy, however," Davis prefaced before saying, "Durkin was removed as Maryland’s head coach midway through the 2018 season following reports of a 'toxic' team culture. Durkin’s Maryland program came under scrutiny after a player, Jordan McNair, died of heatstroke after an offseason workout in the summer of 2018. Durkin had been on administrative leave since August of that year."

While the optics of the rumored hiring are not ideal, it'd undeniably be a good football move for Freeze. With Charles Kelly being an ace recruiter, Durkin could handle the X's and O's side of things. He's a trusty hand after coaching Texas A&M's defense to a No. 36 ranking by season's end.

Hugh Freeze has nothing to lose with his reputation except failing with Auburn football

Freeze already lost a good portion of the fanbase. Even if he had hired a squeaky-clean candidate, some would hold his past against him and wait for his next mistake like a lion looking for dinner. While Durkin's past is troubling, his more recent past than 2018 is more relevant. He's proven capable and, evidently, deserving, of a second chance before.

Winning is the only thing that will justify John Cohen's first major move of his Auburn AD stint. Freeze has brought in two decorated veterans of the coaching game and has upended a staff that seemingly underperformed in half of the team's games relative to the talent and who they were facing.

Luckily, Freeze's hirings, along with new offensive coordinator Derrick Nix, point in the direction of improvement on the Plains this fall. With his legacy somewhat on the line, Freeze did well to bring on trustworthy assistants as he enters new SEC trenches in 2024.