Muschamp: "We Need to Tackle Better"

Will Muschamp talks about a position change and reviews Saturday's scrimmage.

Auburn, Ala.--Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who has used much bigger linebackers than Auburn has in the last few years, made another position change on defense.

Redshirt freshman Alonzo Horton, who has played at strongside end so far this spring, was moved to strongside linebacker during Tuesday's practice.

"He's an athletic guy and he moves around real well," Muschamp says. "We're not really getting much production other than Will Herring at sam linebacker right now. We were pleased with Kevin Sears inside and Karibi Dede inside and we felt like we needed another productive guy. Alonzo's been a guy who has been producing."

Will Muschamp makes a point in Tuesday's practice.

Sears, another player who Muschamp wants on the field because of his size and athletic ability, is playing at both the strongside and middle spots.

Horton, who was pleased with the move to linebacker, Octavius Balkcom and Jerraud Powers were three young players who Muschamp singled out for their play in the scrimmage on Saturday. However, the coordinator says after reviewing the tape that his defense needs to get better in several fundamental areas.

"I was disappointed with out gap control up front," he says. "We didn't play the gaps as well as we need to play them. We need to tackle better, especially in the secondary where we had more than 10 missed tackles. We have to become a more physical defense.

Jerraud Powers has been impressive this spring.

"Eric Brock had his best day," Muschamp adds. "Tristan Davis had a good day, but I think he missed too many tackles. Savage (Aairon Savage) continues to do well and I think he's a natural back there (at free safety). Ferguson (Lorenzo Ferguson) got in for 16 snaps which is about what we thought going in. Steve Gandy did some good things, but he missed three tackles.

"We have to tackle better," Muschamp adds. "That's the bottom line. This is fundamental football and it all starts with tackling."

Muschamp adds that Brock and Gandy are still neck and neck for the No. 1 strong safety.

"We're rotating some guys through trying to find the best combination of the two guys back there," he says. "We had nine missed tackles at the safety positions. You can't miss tackles and play in the secondary. We worked on it today (Tuesday), we'll work tomorrow, Thursday, Friday and Saturday again. We have to become better tacklers and better communicators back there."


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