Thigpen to Coach LB; Martinez to Handle the Secondary
Arkansas 38, Auburn 14
Former Auburn All-SEC player Mike Pelton is in his second season as the Tigers' defensive line coach and his fourth season overall on the staff of head coach Gene Chizik.
Pelton came to Auburn after spending the 2010 season as the defensive ends coach at Vanderbilt. In January of 2011, Pelton was named defensive line coach at Louisiana-Lafayette but accepted an offer to return to his alma mater on March 2.
A native of Goshen, Ala., Pelton spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons at Iowa State working under Chizik. Pelton's defensive lines were an area of strong improvement in his two seasons with the Cyclones. Pelton mentored a pair of second-team All-Big 12 selections at Iowa State in nose guard Ahtyba Rubin and defensive end Kurtis Taylor. Rubin just finished his second year as a starter for the Cleveland Browns after being selected in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL draft.
Prior to working under Chizik at Iowa State, Pelton spent six years under Larry Blakeney on the staff at Troy, including the final two years at co-defensive coordinator.
The Troy defense was consistently among the nation's leaders in several categories. In 2002, the Trojans ranked fourth nationally, allowing just 277 total yards per game. In 2004, the Trojans ranked 16th in total defense.
Pelton worked with two of the most prolific defensive linemen in Troy history, in Demarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora. A six-year veteran, Ware is a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro linebacker with Dallas. Umenyiora is a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end for the New York Giants.
Prior to going to Troy, Pelton coached the defensive line at Valdosta State (Ga.) University in 2000. The Blazers posted a 10-2 record and made the NCAA Division II playoffs.
As a player at Auburn, Pelton was a standout defensive tackle, earning first team All-SEC recognition in 1994. A four-year letterman from 1991-94, Pelton was a co-captain as a senior and helped the Tigers win a school-record 20 consecutive games from 1993-94. Auburn posted an 11-0 record in 1993, finishing fourth in the Associated Press poll. The Tigers went 9-1-1 the following season in 1994, finishing ninth in the AP top 25.
As a senior in 1994, Pelton recorded 10.0 sacks which tied for fourth-most in a single-season in Auburn history. Pelton finished his career with 294 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 15 sacks.
Pelton was a fifth-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1995 NFL Draft
He graduated from Auburn in 1995 with a degree in Health & Sports Science.
Pelton and his wife, Staci, are the parents of three daughters: Myesha, Tyra and Peyton.
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