New head football coach Hugh Freeze has officially decided who will be his offensive and defensive coordinator at Auburn.
On Wednesday Auburn announced that former Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery will be the Tigers' offensive coordinator and former Baylor defensive coordinator Ron Roberts will be at Auburn under the same role.
Montgomery spent eight years at Tulsa as the head coach of the Golden Hurricanes, accumulating a 43-53 overall record, but was fired after a 5-7 season in 2022. The 2022 season marked Montgomery's sixth consecutive season without winning more than seven games.
The only time Tulsa won more than seven games under Montgomery was in Montgomery's second season with the program in 2016 where it went 10-3 and won the Miami Beach Bowl.
The offense of that 2016 team was a record-breaking one and could be an indication of why Freeze elected to hire Montgomery as his offensive aid. That season, Tulsa became the first school in FBS history with a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers.
The Golden Hurricanes ended the season ranked inside the top 10 in total offense (527) and points per game (42.5). Tulsa's offense was incredibly balanced that season between the pass game (265.3) and run game (261.7), and Tulsa also set a school record with eight games where the offense ran for 300+ yards.
Prior to his time at Tulsa, Montgomery spent seven seasons at Baylor as co-offensive coordinator or offensive coordinator under head coach Art Briles. Montgomery also spent five seasons at Houston with Briles as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator.
While at Baylor, Montgomery coached a couple standout quarterbacks. One was Bryce Petty who won the 2013 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and eventually became a fourth-round NFL draft pick. The other was Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“Philip (Montgomery) is one of the brightest offensive minds in college football and has had experience developing and coaching some great quarterbacks in the last 20 years, including a Heisman Trophy winner in Robert Griffin III,” Freeze said. “He does a tremendous job schematically and has had success being multifaceted in both the running and passing games. I’ve known Philip for a long time and am excited to finally work with him.”
Griffin III recorded just under 5,000 yards his senior season while scoring 47 touchdowns and winning the Heisman trophy. Griffin III left Baylor as the all-time program leader in yards passing and passing touchdowns. Petty finished third in both of those categories.
While Montgomery has some impressive history as offensive coordinator, it is currently unclear whether he or Freeze will call plays. Freeze at his introductory press conference said he would have to make that decision.
"I've called the plays my whole career," Freeze said. "Honestly, sitting here today, I'm contemplating maybe in the new world of rebuilding the Auburn football team and the work it's going to take to capture the players and recruit, maybe I should get some help in that."
Auburn's other new coordinator also has Baylor roots. Auburn hired former Baylor defensive coordinator Ron Roberts after Roberts left the Bears on Dec. 1.
Roberts has over 30 years of coaching experience at every level of football. Roberts has head coaching experience at Delta State, a Division 2 school, and at Southeastern Louisiana where he had a combined 89-45 record.
"Ron (Roberts) has been a very successful defensive coach spanning three decades and multiple stops," Freeze said. "His defenses have always been aggressive and put a lot of pressure on opposing offenses. Ron is a great fit for what we are wanting to do on both sides of the ball, and we are excited to have his experience and expertise leading our defensive unit."
Roberts spent two years at Louisiana as defensive coordinator before being hired by Baylor head coach Dave Aranda at Baylor. Aranda served as Roberts' co-defensive coordinator in 2007 at Delta State.
Roberts' time at Baylor was highlighted by a historic 2021 season with the Bears. Baylor won its third Big 12 title in program history in 2021 and its first New Year's Six bowl and a large part of that success came from the defense.
Baylor led the conference in turnovers forced (27) and finished second in run defense (118.4), scoring defense (18.3) and sacks per game (3.14).
However, his defense was not as impressive in 2022. Baylor allowed 26.6 points per game and forced 19 turnovers. Its run defense still ranked inside the top 50 nationally, however, Baylor ranked 80th in passing yards allowed per game (232.8) and only recorded two sacks per game.
Baylor was selected as the preseason Big 12 champion but after a disappointing 6-6 season, elected to part ways with Roberts. Roberts looks to reestablish himself as a top coordinator in college football as he coaches in the SEC for the first time in his career.
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Jacob is a sophomore from Leeds, Alabama. This is his second year with The Auburn Plainsman.