Auburn Football Notebook: Defensive Thoughts

Talking about a name to watch for Auburn's defensive staff as well as some changes in the style of play on defense for the Tigers.

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A name that has surfaced as a possible addition to Auburn’s defensive staff is former Miami linebacker and assistant coach Michael Barrow. A 13-year NFL veteran, Barrow was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 and finished seventh in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

As a coach he has been just as successful. Before taking a season off in 2014 to care for his ailing mother, Barrow coached seven seasons at Miami. From 2007-2012 he was both the linebackers coach and handled special teams for the Hurricanes. In 2013 he coached just the linebackers. He has helped five linebackers reach the NFL under his guidance.

The move would make sense with Will Muschamp being able to help out coaching the safeties for the Tigers alongside cornerbacks coach Travaris Robinson. That was the plan from the start to allow Muschamp the freedom to coach the entire defense while focusing on the safeties. If Barrow is the guy it would give the Tigers a strong defensive staff, one that excelled on the field during their playing days and off the field as coaches.

Change In Style

One of the things that is likely to change when Muschamp and Robinson get their hands on Auburn’s secondary is going to be more man-to-man coverage by the cornerbacks and safeties. Under Ellis Johnson and Melvin Smith, the Tigers were focused on recruiting longer players that were capable of playing zone.

That won’t be the case for Auburn beginning in spring practice as an aggressive style of play on the perimeter will be a must in Muschamp’s system. Because of that the Tigers have hit the ground running at the cornerback position with several new offers going out to join current commitment Chris Westry. A player they like from their time seeing him at a Florida summer camp, Westry is capable of playing cornerback at 6-4, but also has the athleticism to play a number of different spots as well on defense.

A player who Muschamp and Robinson offered was five-star cornerback Iman Marshall from Long Beach Poly. At 6-2, Marshall combines everything coaches look for in a shutdown player at the position. Auburn is fighting an uphill battle to get into the hunt for the talented West Coast DB, but the Tigers have put their hat into the ring.

Another player in the mix is four-star Javarius Davis from Ed White High in Jacksonville, Fla. Expected to visit next weekend, Davis will also visit Georgia and is looking heavily at Florida and Louisville as well. Also offered from the State of Florida, speedster Jeremiah Dinson from Hialeah (Fla.) is committed to Kentucky, but looking at Florida, Louisville and several others. He could take a late visit as well and is very familiar with both Muschamp and Robinson.

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