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Ellis Johnson won't return as Auburn's defensive coordinator

USA Today

USA Today

Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is leaving the staff, FootballScoop learned on Sunday afternoon.

The news comes a day after Auburn allowed 538 yards of total offense and 34 second-half points in a 55-44 loss to Alabama. The Tigers finished 8-4 after a 5-0 start, and allowed 38, 41, 34 and 55 points in their four losses.

Overall, Auburn ranked 11th in total defense, 12th in yards per play and 10th in scoring defense in the 14-team SEC in conference games, and allowed 39 points per game in their last six SEC contests.

With a pair of notable defensive names officially coming on the market in the last 24 hours, Gus Malzahn will have no shortage of options (Muschamp, Pelini, etc...) in choosing his next defensive coordinator. And besides the obvious names you're already thinking, UAB head coach Bill Clark should be a strong candidate in the event UAB football does get shut down.

And considering what happened on the field in Tuscaloosa last night, and the investment Auburn's chief rivals have made with their offensive play-callers, the next hire needs to be a big one.

As always, we follow @FootballScoop and check The Scoop for the latest.