Tigers Eager to Play, Muschamp Eager to Win

The Auburn football Tigers have moved into game week preparations with the opener on Saturday set for the Georgia Dome vs. Louisville.

Rudy Ford (above) is a returning starter at safety.

Auburn, Ala.--Will Muschamp said the primary goal in his first game as defensive coordinator for Gus Malzahn’s Auburn football team is a simple one.

“I just want to win,” Muschamp said after Sunday evening’s practice. “It's all about winning. There is no barometer we're looking for. Let's just do what we need to do to win the game.

“I think any coach would say the same thing,” said Muschamp, who spent two seasons as Auburn’s defensive coordinator when Tommy Tuberville was head coach. “Let's just do what we need to do to win the game and that's what we need to do,” he added.

In four of his five seasons as an SEC coordinator, Muschamp’s groups have finished in the top 10 nationally in total defense. In his 12 seasons as a defensive coordinator or head coach, those teams finished in the Top 10 in total defense 10 times.

Will Muschamp

During his two seasons as defensive coordinator at Auburn, the Tigers allowed averages of 15.4 points per game, 124.4 rushing yards, 170.1 passing yards and 295.1 total yards per contest.

Muschamp said he has respect for the play-calling ability of Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, who was also a coordinator at Auburn under Tuberville.

“At the end of the day, they're going to attack with the same route concepts, but in a lot of different ways,” the Auburn coach said. “I think that's been my experience as a defensive coordinator and head coach in preparing for offenses. It's not about the elaborate plays, it's about the execution of the plays that they have.

“Go back to Coach (Steve) Spurrier when he was at Florida or even now at South Carolina, it's not really about the multitude of plays they run, they run them really well. I would say the same thing about Gus and our offense. We don't run a bunch of plays, but when we run them we execute them extremely well.

“When they get a different look, get a different pressure, get a different coverage, they understand the answers,” Muschamp said. “I think that's what you see with his offense as well. It's not the elaborate number of plays, it's the execution of the plays that they have.”

One of Muschamp’s key defenders, tackle Montravius Adams, had this to say after Sunday’s practice in shorts, helmets and shoulder pads.

“It feels like it has been a long preseason,” he said. “I feel like we have been out there practicing for a year, but Saturday is the first game and I?think we are going to be ready.”

Rudy Ford, the team’s leading tackler last year, is back as a junior safety and said he believes the defense is ready to play a game. “It was intense,” he said of Sunday’s practice. “We are getting ready for game week, ready to go strike Louisville.”

Marcus Davis catches a punt in practice.

Junior wide receiver Marcus Davis, who noted he will be the No. 1 punt returner for the opener replacing Quan Bray who was a senior in 2014, was asked if the offense is ready to play a game and he said, “I think we are really ready. “I could kind of feel the urgency, even though it wasn’t a full practice. Everybody is excited about game week and we are just ready to play.

“We are ready to challenge ourselves and see a different opponent,” Davis added.

In other news and notes:

*Kickoff time for Saturday’s game is shortly after 2:30 p.m. with television coverage on CBS. Verne Lundquist will to the play-by-play with Gary Danielson the analysts for CBS and Allie LaForce sideline reporter at the Georgia Dome.

*The game will also be carried nationally on radio with the ESPN?crew of Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Tom Luginbill calling the action.

*The Auburn Network radio crew features Rod Bramblett doing play-by-play with Stan White the analyst, Quentin Riggins the sideline reporter and Paul Ellen as the studio host. The Auburn broadcast will also be available on Sirius Channel 81.

*Saturday’s contest will be just the second football matchup of the Tigers and Cardinals. Auburn won the previous contest 16-3 in 1974 at Legion Field in Birmingham.

*Saturday’s game will mark the 123rd season of Auburn football. The Tigers are 94-26-2 in season openers.

*Gus Malzahn has a 20-7 record at Auburn as head coach for three seasons. Louisville’s Bobby Petrino is 50-13 in his two runs as head coach of the Cardinals.

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