Last April, the NCAA adopted a number of new changes, including one that allows member schools to increase the number of Graduate Assistants on staff from two to four, effective August 2012. With the new coaching staff firmly in place, all that is left for the 2012 season is for Bill O'Brien to name who these four Graduate Assistants will be. While holdover assistants Terrell Golden and Elijah Robinson should be around in the fall, one person we know for sure will be there is Zac Etheridge, a former Auburn defensive back who announced yesterday that he has accepted a Graduate Assistant position beginning in the fall.
"You guys are amazing", Etheridge wrote to his fans on Facebook. "[I am] excited about the opportunity to start at a place like Penn State."
Etheridge came to Auburn in 2006, and after a year, became a regular fixture in the secondary. He was a solid foundation in the Tiger defensive backfield until his junior year against Ole Miss, when an awkward tackle put his future in jeopardy.
It's got to be tough to bounce back from something like that, right? Not if you're Zac Etheridge, who would return to the lineup the following season and help the Tigers win a national championship.
After college, Etheridge actually signed a brief contract with the Oakland Raiders last July before making the career change from player to coach. Etheridge will rejoin Ted Roof, who served as Auburn's defensive coordinator the final two season's of Etheridge's playing career.
While Graduate Assistants don't exactly specialize in any one spot like the regular coaches, it's probably safe to assume Etheridge will spend some time in the secondary with Defensive Back coach John Butler.