Ellis Johnson fired as D-coordinator at Auburn

Allowing Alabama to score 55 points in the Iron Bowl was likely the final nail in the coffin for Auburn Tigers defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, who was fired on Sunday. But Auburn's defense had been struggling all season.

Shanna Lockwood/Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t matter that the Auburn Tigers played for a national championship last season. After going 8-4, dropping three of their last four games and allowing opponents to pile on 31 or more points six times this season, someone had to go.

That someone was defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, who was informed on Sunday that he would be relieved of his duties at Auburn, according to FootballScoop.com.

The Tigers were thrashed on Saturday by Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Auburn gave up 55 points to the Crimson Tide after allowing Georgia to score 34 points and Texas A&M 41. The only solace was a 31-7 beatdown of Samford wrapped in between those losses.

But taking care of Samford doesn’t excuse Auburn’s defensive struggles in the SEC.

Auburn finished 10th in the conference by allowing 26.1 points per game. Only one team from the West (Texas A&M) gave up more. The Tigers had big troubles against the pass all season as well. Only one team (Kentucky) gave up more touchdowns through the air than Auburn’s 21, and the Tigers finished 13th in the SEC as teams averaged 239.2 passing yards per game in 2014.

With Johnson gone, the Tigers will be looking for their fourth defensive coordinator since 2008. Johnson followed Brian VanGorder (2012), Ted Roof (2009-2011) and Paul Rhodes (2008).

Recently fired head coaches that could be good fits in Auburn include: ex-Florida front man Will Muschamp, and Bo Pelini, formerly of Nebraska.