TRACY QUINTON ROCKERAge:
43 (born 4/9/66)College:
B.A. from Auburn, 1992.Playing career:
Spent his career at Auburn, signing in 1986 and earning a slew of awards for his work. He later spent time in the NFL with Washington and spent a short period of time with Orlando of the World League.Coaching career:
•Auburn, defensive line (current)
•Ole Miss, defensive line (2008)
•Arkansas, defensive line (2003-07)
•Cincinnati, defensive line (2002)
•Troy State, defensive line (1997-2001)
•West Alabama, defensive line (1995-96)
•Auburn High, defensive coordinator (1992-94)Mentor:
Rocker has identified several. It was Larry Blakeney, though, who gave Rocker the biggest lift -- including a job (in 1997) at Troy University. Previous Auburn experience:
Rocker was an outstanding defensive tackle for the Tigers and was the first lineman to win the Lombardi and Outland awards in the same season.Coaching philosophy:
Rocker is a tough guy. That's the bottom line. It's not born out of hostility. Rocker played under Pat Dye and the two men use a similar approach toward football. They want results. In Rocker's mind, all the talking in the world can't touch the value of trial-and-error experience on the field.
To that end, Rocker is more motivator than strategist. Several defensive linemen spent the spring telling tales of how different things had become. Gone are the days of technique-oriented assessments. Rocker isn't too worried about hand placement or leverage. He'll adjust them if necessary, but he's not grading on that. He believes each player has his own way to best affect the offensive. Rocker gives his players the freedom to find that avenue and perfect it.
Mike Blanc provides an ideal example. Blanc is a bull rusher. That's his thing. Former assistants Don Dunn and Terry Price pushed Blanc to develop different methods to pressure quarterbacks and disrupt rushing lanes. Rocker, though, has worked with Blanc to enhance his bull rush -- believing the bull rush provides Blanc his best chance for a positive outcome.
Rocker doesn't make players conform to his specifications. He adapts to theirs.
Like most position coaches, Rocker is keen on building personal relationships with his players. Players say he's remarkably blunt behind closed doors and on the field, but doesn't embarrass players in front of their teammates. He screams rarely -- even on the field.Personality profile:
Nearly 20 years after his career ended, Rocker still is an imposing presence. He's a big man, a strong man, a heavy man. He has a look that screams: I'd hate to be a bouncer if this guy goes off in a club
He's careful with his words. He doesn't believe in criticizing players publicly, so it's rare that reporters get a glimpse of Rocker's true opinions. He speaks highly of everyone.
With that said, he's not a happy-go-lucky guy. Rocker is task-oriented. I don't see him laugh very often.
He's an important cog in the Tigers' recruiting enterprise. Rocker plays the realist role, meaning he works opposite of Trooper Taylor and his remarkably sunny demeanor. Rocker tells recruits that being great requires a ton of work. Recruits often see him as the anchor -- the guy whose opinions are most real and, to many, most valuable. Recruiting is 90% flash and 10% substance.
Rocker provides most of that 10%.