CLEMSON — Dabo Swinney is in the market for a secondary coach.
TigerIllustrated.com reported Saturday night that recruit Adrian Baker, making an official visit to Clemson’s campus, said secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator Charlie Harbison has accepted a similar position at Auburn.
Harbison was one of the first coaches hired by Swinney when he was hired as the full-time coach in December 2008. He just finished his fourth season on Clemson’s staff. He has ties to new Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson – the two worked together at Alabama in 2000 and at Mississippi State in 2007.
This was Harbison’s second stint at Clemson. He also served as the Tigers’ secondary coach from 1995-97. He also spent two stints at Alabama for a total of seven years, served as LSU’s defensive backs coach from 2001-02, and was Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator in 2007-08.
The Tigers’ pass defense stats have slipped under Harbison’s watch. With NFL-level talents like Marcus Gilchrist and DeAndre McDaniel on hand, Clemson was seventh nationally in pass defense in 2009, allowing 162.8 yards per game.
In 2010, Clemson slipped to 22nd, allowing 191.8 yards per game. A year ago, those numbers eroded further; 217.5 yards per game, 50th nationally.
This season, the Tigers were 82nd, allowing 250.3 yards per game with a secondary wracked by season-ending injuries to cornerbacks Martin Jenkins and Darius Robinson.
When asked about Harbison’s potential departure Friday, Swinney said, “I anticipate all of our staff being here. From time to time, if change happens, with the program we’ve built, we’ve put one in place that will respond appropriately and attract great coaches.”