Auburn, Ala.--The first test for Auburn’s defense under Will Muschamp is in the books and so far so good for the Tigers. While there were some problems in the second half defending speedy Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, senior cornerback Jonathan Jones said overall it was a good first step.
“It’s kind of just football,” Jones said. “It’s a game of momentum. They were able to steal the momentum back once we got up, but we made some plays and stops to get the momentum back. We were able to do that and get some turnovers and come out with the victory.”
The two biggest defensive plays came in the first half as safety Tray Matthews’ interception on the first offensive play of the game set the tone for the Auburn defense. Later Justin Garrett returned a fumble for a touchdown in a huge play for the Tigers.
“I think that really started off our whole day on defense,” Jones said of the interception. “He set the tempo for everybody.
“It’s very big,” he added of the first half. “It lets you know you have the potential to do it. Once you’ve done it before, we have to extend it through the whole game but it lets us know we can stop people. Now we just have to get it done.”
Jones and the Auburn defense have had over nine months to get to know Muschamp, his defense and his personality. On Saturday they got the first chance to see what he’s like in an actual game. Seeing how he handles a game and makes adjustments was something Jones said has the guys excited about the future.
“It’s very big for us,” Jones said. “You’re able to trust him. You trust the coaches and the coaches trust you to make plays. Coming back on the sidelines and being able to make the corrections and adjustments that’s kind of part of it.”
Auburn will return to practice Sunday night before taking Labor Day off on Monday. The Tigers will take on Jacksonville State in the home opener on Saturday at 11 a.m. Jones said while it wasn’t perfect getting a win was the most important thing.
“It’s very big,” Jones said. “It sets the tempo for the whole season. We’re able to put this game behind us and focus on the next one.”