Lance Thompson

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Auburn tabs linebackers coach as interim defensive coordinator

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Following the loss of one-year defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to South Carolina, Auburn has named linebackers coach Lance Thompson its interim defensive coordinator for the Birmingham Bowl.

He’s familiar with our defense, he’s a veteran guy and these guys will work very closely together,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said Monday following a practice session. “That had a lot to do with it.”

Thompson joined the Auburn staff this season. The last time he took on the role of a defensive coordinator was in 2004 through 2006 at UCF. This may be an open audition for the job, as he has reportedly expressed interest in being Auburn’s defensive coordinator moving forward. The search for a full-time replacement will continue, with no promises Thompson will be in the running for the job. Thompson will have his work cut out for him, as Auburn is preparing to face a dangerous offensive team in Memphis. Memphis will be playing the game after losing head coach Justin Fuente to Virginia Tech.

The loss of Muschamp caused a few staff adjustments in preparation for the bowl game. In addition to Thompson taking on the interim defensive coordinator role, graduate assistant Travis Williams will take over as linebackers coach and graduate assistant Blake Gideon will coach the secondary.

Muschamp accepted a role as head coach at South Carolina.

Alabama loses another assistant coach to SEC West rival

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On the heels of Alabama losing defensive assistant Kevin Steele to a new job at LSU, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is losing one more defensive assistant to another SEC West rival.

Lance Thompson has reportedly agreed to join the Auburn coaching staff as a defensive assistant under new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. 247 Sports was first to report the coaching news.

Thompson had been Alabama’s outside linebackers coach for three seasons under Saban. He had spent the previous three years as an assistant at Tennessee and he is regarded as a top-notch recruiter for Alabama. His move from Alabama to Auburn should be a huge boost for the Tigers, a program in need of solidifying things on defense in order to bounce back and compete for the SEC championship and make a run at a potential playoff spot. With the coaching changes happening for Gus Malzahn and his program, things seem to be looking up on defense, and this move may crack things a little bit in Tuscaloosa. Thompson is the final piece of the puzzle for Auburn’s revamped coaching staff.

Alabama has now lost two assistants to division rivals in a span of 24 hours. This is far from suggesting Saban is in trouble, coming off a second straight postseason bowl loss.