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Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Auburn shuffles defensive coaching duties

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

With Willie Martinez joining the Auburn defensive staff, Tommy Thigpen will move from coaching safeties to linebackers.

Thigpen, who was an All-ACC linebacker at North Carolina, had coached the Tigers' safeties for the past three seasons. He was the North Carolina linebackers coach from 2005-08 before joining the Auburn staff and also coached linebackers for a season at Illinois.

Martinez, a former defensive coordinator at Georgia, will coach Auburn's entire secondary. The past three years under Gene Chizik, the secondary duties had been divided at Auburn. Phillip Lolley coached the cornerbacks and Thigpen the safeties.

Brian VanGorder takes over the Auburn defense after coming over from the Atlanta Falcons.

The Tigers finished last in the SEC and 86th nationally in passing-efficiency defense last season. They gave up 23 touchdown passes and intercepted just 11 passes.