Auburn's rise doesn't surprise Thigpen, Martinez
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Auburn's resurgence in the Southeastern Conference doesn't surprise two Tennessee assistant coaches who worked on the Tigers' staff last season.
Tennessee linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen and secondary coach Willie Martinez held the same positions at Auburn last season under Gene Chizik, who was fired after a 3-9 season. Thigpen and Martinez will try to beat their former school Saturday when Tennessee (4-5, 1-4 SEC) hosts No. 7 Auburn (8-1, 4-1).
Thigpen and Martinez said they could sense that the Tigers were capable of making major strides this year.
Both pointed out that Auburn has a more dynamic offense this season under new coach Gus Malzahn. Thigpen called Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall "probably one of the most explosive guys you're going to see in the SEC."