Paul Johnsonâ€™s name has surfaced over the last few days in media reports. Johnson seems to have picked up momentum and according to rumor has admirers on the Plains in the places that count. The thrashing of the Georgia Bulldogs (a big Auburn rival) showed the coach knows how to defeat SEC teams in big games.
Johnson would also fit the Auburn mentality. He excelled coaching at a service academy (Navy) where character and hard work were in greater supply than 5-star athletes. He does more with less. You have to love that if you are facing Alabama, LSU, and Georgia every year with Florida a likely opponent if you make it to Atlanta.
There are drawbacks to Johnson, but his demeanor seems closer to the Auburn way of doing things than someone like Mike Leach. Johnson isnâ€™t flashy, but neither was Pat Dye. Dye won SEC championships at Auburn with a strong reliance on running the football. Johnson would do the same. Would he run the triple option at Auburn? Probably. Would it be a drawback in recruiting? Possibly, but Auburn can recruit provided the coaches actually work hard at it.
One thing to keep in mind about Auburnâ€™s coaching searchâ€”there is likely a plan. Jay G. Tate wrote on his blog that history could provide clues about how Auburn conducts this coaching search.
Auburn has its next coach all but hired right now. Auburn does its homework — even unethical homework — when it comes to preserving the football program. If Auburn is out there pounding the pavement, knocking on doors and searching for a coach’s replacement days after he left the program, well, it would be a first for this regime.
Considering Tateâ€™s theory that this search would follow Auburnâ€™s past, could Johnsonâ€™s consistent inclusion in the discussion be a clue?