With a defense that has ranked in the Top 10 nationally in seven of the last eight seasons, including ninth this year, Muschamp has produced consistently strong defenses since he led Auburn to a top three finish in scoring defense as a coordinator for the Tigers. Malzahn said the consistency is just part of the reason why Muschamp, the former University of Florida head coach, is the right fit at the right time for the program.
“First of all, he's a great coach,” Malzahn said. “He's got a proven track record. I love his energy. I'm an energy guy, too. I really wanted somebody who had great energy and intensity to have that defense really take on his personality. He's one of the best in the business, if not the best in the business, and we really got all the above with what we were looking for.
“First of all he’s one of the best defensive minds in all of football,” Malzahn added. “He’s got a great reputation. Kids love to play for him. The success he’s had is really unbelievable. As far as what he provides, he provides a whole lot.”
Energy is something that Muschamp is definitely filled with Malzahn not far behind with his emotion on the sidelines after a big play. That is something that has been missing from Auburn’s defense in recent seasons and Malzahn said he’s looking for that to return beginning next season.
“He’s one of the best to coach defense,” Malzahn noted. “He’s got great energy. He’s been on the sideline and looks players in the eyes and they play hard for him. He’s got it figured out.”
Getting Muschamp is just the first part of the equation for Auburn’s defensive needs. Now comes the next step, getting the right players to fit his scheme. That begins on the recruiting trail where the Tigers are already making noise, including getting a visit from five-star Byron Cowart for Jan. 16. Malzahn said evaluating talent and recruiting are the main jobs for his new coordinator between now and signing day in February to make sure the Tigers fill needs as thoroughly as possible.
“We're trying to recruit the best players out there,” Malzahn said. “I'm going to evaluate everything. I think it will be really good for him to sit back and watch our guys perform so he can evaluate and assess. And then you get your best plan together for his defense.”
With a defensive mind to match his offensive prowess, Malzahn along with Athletic Director Jay Jacobs have made what looks like a strong move to take Auburn’s program to the next level. Now all that is left is to get it done on the field, something the head coach noted he can’t wait to put into motion.
“I’m excited about it,” Malzahn said. “It’s a pretty good combination the way I look at it. I’m excited to be coaching with him.”