Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has a strong history with Auburn secondary coach Wesley McGriff. And that puts the Tigers’ co-defensive coordinator directly in the discussion when it comes to rumored replacements from former Rebels defensive coordinator Dave Wommack, who retired at the end of the regular season.
McGriff, who arrived on The Plains in 2016 after spending three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, previously served under Freeze as the Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator in 2012.
According to sources talking to both the Montgomery Advertiser on the Auburn side and the Rebel Walk on the Ole Miss side, McGriff has emerged a serious candidate for a return to Oxford to fill the vacant coordinator position.
SEC Country’s Benjamin Wolk spoke with Gus Malzahn on Wednesday, and the Auburn coach remained upbeat about his chances of retaining McGriff.
“He’s a talented coach,” Malzahn said. “We hope we can hold onto him … I think he’s one of the best in the business.”
Auburn is reportedly paying McGriff in the range of $500,000 per season, and the secondary coach is under contract through next season. Malzahn was pressed about seeking a potential raise or extension for his assistants during the Wednesday media availability, but he declined to directly address that, instead pointing to the “super job” that McGriff did in 2016.
The Rebels defense, which ranked among the worst in the league in 2016, had some success with McGriff around in 2012. According to his Auburn bio, the defense finished second in the SEC and in the top 15 in the NCAA in tackles for a loss (7.7) and sacks per game (2.8) while he was on the staff.