Muschamp Pleased With Linebackers

Coach Will Muschamp was glad to see young players emerge and provide depth at linebacker for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--First year Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said at the beginning of spring practice that he wanted his players to learn to be mentally and physically tough. Saturday's scrimmage was a step in that direction for many young players on defensive side of the ball.

"Coach Tuberville wanted this to be a physical scrimmage," Muschamp said. "That's what we were able to do and accomplish in this scrimmage. That's what this team needs right now. That's what spring is for--to get better fundamentally.

"Our offense can run the football," he added. "We've got an outstanding offensive line and offensive line coach. And Al (Al Borges) is a tough, mental guy. He wants to run the football at you."

One player Muschamp said he was impressed with before watching film was redshirt freshman Tray Blackmon, who made seven tackles and two tackles for a loss.

"Tray Blackmon is a guy that's jumped out at me," Muschamp said. "Tray's a guy who flies around, has fun, wants to learn, wants to play and he plays the game the way it's suppose to be played. There have been a lot of young guys who have done good things."

He added that he was also impressed with the Blackmon's competition at the Will linebacker spot, Merrill Johnson.

Kevin Sears (40), Chris Browder (92), Josh Thompson (97) and Tray Blackmon (10) leave the field after making a stop on the offense at Saturday's scrimmage.

Just five practices in to his coaching career as a coordinator at Auburn, Muschamp is still mixing and matching players at different positions to fit his scheme. With the absence of Karibi Dede for much of the scrimmage because he was in Montgomery taking a teaching certification test for his major, an opportunity came for Kevin Sears to try his hand as quarterback of the defense at middle linebacker.

"You've got more of the reads and other things at Mike that are certainly different," Muschamp said. "You don't have to read as much when you're playing the Sam linebacker position and certainly that's different for him."

Sears had seven tackles and one tackle for loss in the middle.

"You've got to be adaptable to situations," Muschamp added. "It's a long season, you've got 12 games and you're probably going to have some injuries. You've got to be prepared with guys at different spots.

"Throughout spring, something that Coach Tuberville wanted to do was to move some guys around and give them different looks at different positions," Muschamp said. "When those injuries happen, you're able to adapt and adjust. Kevin is a guy who has done a good job for us at mike. We know he can play sam so let's experiment and see what else he can do."

The Tigers will return to the practice fields at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday for a practice that was not originally scheduled.


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