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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Smith leaves Mississippi State for Auburn

By Chris Low

New Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has obviously placed a premium on SEC experience in assembling his staff.

The latest addition was Melvin Smith, who will coach the Auburn cornerbacks after serving two different stints on the Mississippi State staff. Smith first worked at Mississippi State under Jackie Sherrill from 1995-2001 and returned to Starkville in 2006 under Sylvester Croom and was retained by Dan Mullen in 2008 when Mullen took over as the Bulldogs' coach.

Smith's two cornerbacks at Mississippi State, Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay, combined for nine interceptions this season. Banks won the Thorpe Award as the top defensive back in college football.

Smith has 18 years of coaching experience in the SEC, which is a common theme on the staff Malzahn is putting together on the Plains.

Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, co-defensive coordinator Charlie Harbison, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach Rodney Garner and offensive line coach J.B. Grimes also have extensive coaching experience in the SEC.

Among them, the new Auburn assistants have combined for 75 years of coaching experience in the SEC and have spent time at 11 different schools currently in the SEC.