Getting two years to see his defense in action during the 2006-2007 seasons, Riggins said he knows what Auburn is going to get from Muschamp when he gets his scheme in place.
“It’s gang tackling,” Riggins said. “I think the thing I’m excited about will be guys flying to the football. It won’t be one person making the tackle, it’s going to be multiple people making the tackle. That’s what I really like.
"The other thing I like, and you’ve heard me talk about it, is stemming and disguising the defense. When the quarterback gets to the line of scrimmage he won’t be able to look up and see that Auburn is in cover-two or press-man. I look for a lot of pressure, a lot of deception, a lot of gang tackling, a lot of energy. The one thing that this team will get from their defensive coordinator is intensity. I’m pretty pumped up about it.”
The original “Coach Boom” from his time at Auburn, Muschamp is a fiery coach on the sidelines who isn’t afraid to show his emotions or his love for his players on and off the field. That is something that speaks volumes to Riggins, as does Muschamp’s history of coaching out of the press box.
“One thing about it is Will Muschamp coaches from the sidelines,” Riggins said. “You can tell a lot from the sidelines and what the players are saying and what their eyes are saying and what their mouths are not saying. You can get a lot of information being right there.
"Most importantly, you can really make those adjustments in real time. Not saying that you can’t do it from the press box or the headsets, but if that guy is right next to you with a chalkboard then you make it real time.
“The intensity Will brings won’t be 200 yards up in the press box, it’s going to be right there on the sidelines," Riggins added. "He is going to make a difference and that’s what I’m really excited about. He’s going to be passionate and he’s going to put players on the field that have that same type of passion.
"Right now, let me tell you something, I look forward to going to it because it’s a great opportunity for young players to show what they can do. It’s going to be a great opportunity for Auburn.”
One of the biggest need areas for Auburn’s defense is in the secondary where big plays were a huge problem for much of the season for the Tigers. That showed up time and time again in losses to Mississippi State, Texas A&M and especially against Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Those are things that Riggins expects to see decline rapidly under Muschamp’s guidance.
“With the spread and the different formations with the spread and the motion, I look at Auburn’s last game against Alabama and how they moved around Amari Cooper multiple times,” Riggins said. “A team may have a big play and may even score a touchdown and may knock out a couple of touchdowns in a row, but the same play won’t beat them. That’s the one thing I’m kind of excited about as far as Will is concerned. He’s going to be able to adjust to the fast times in the conference from a Hugh Freeze, what Dan Mullen is doing at Mississippi State, what Kevin Sumlin is doing at Texas A&M. All three really different types of spread offenses and his defenses will be able to adapt.”
Now Auburn gets ready to face Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl while Muschamp gets two days to begin recruiting for the Tigers before the dead period begins at midnight on Sunday. With top prospects from around the country possibly taking a second look at Auburn with Muschamp on board, Riggins believes Muschamp’s energy will make him a favorite for players. That could be huge heading into signing day for the 2015 class.
“Auburn has a need, particularly on defense, and you can look and see where the challenges are,” Riggins said. “He’s a name coach. He’s very popular in this region because he played at Georgia and has coached at Auburn and has coached at Florida. He’s a household name. If you’re a defensive player you know Will Muschamp and you know what he’s done and you know some of the players he’s coached and what he’s produced. When he was at Florida, his first year or two he had the number one defensive recruiting class in the country.
“He’s going to assemble talent," Riggins added. "Guys are going to come play for him. Not only talented guys, but when they come and play they’re going to play like they are four-stars or play like they are five-stars because of his intensity and what he gets out of his players. That’s the thing that is going to be interesting. If Auburn can cut what they are giving up in half and the offense under Gus Malzahn continues to thrive at its same level, Auburn is going to be a very difficult team to beat.”