Muschamp Sees Progress With Auburn Defense

Comments from Auburn's defensive coordinator are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Will Muschamp was happier about what he saw in scrimmage two than what he witnessed in the first one this preseason for the Auburn football team.

AU's first-year defensive coordinator says, "I thought we had a lot of great effort on through the day. For the second scrimmage we talked, for the most part, pretty well. We had good execution at times."

However, he wasn't pleased with everything he saw in the 104-play scrimmage on Friday evening. "We gave up a big play. The safety didn't disguise well enough on the pressure and the corner got beat over the top on a big play, which we can't afford to let happen. It was a 37-yard touchdown.

"We lost the wideout on a bootleg one time, which was disappointing. We should have had better eye control, but the mistakes we made were all correctable and that is the most promising thing...The kids played hard for the entire scrimmage and that was what we were looking for."

Muschamp notes the Tigers are "thin" at linebacker with two project starters suspended (Tray Blackmon and Kevin Sears) and one (Steve Gandy) definitely out with an injury. At Saturday's practice, young linebackers like Alonzo Horton, Patrick Trahan, Courtney Harden, Craig Stevens, Hendrick Leverette and Chris Evans were given a chance to show what they can do.

Tray Blackmon (10) runs a drill on Saturday while Patrick Trahan (42), Alonzo Horton (85) and Hendrick Leverette (36) wait for their turn.

"One man's misfortune is another man's opportunity," he says. "That is the way we have got to approach it. That is what we have told those kids. They have got to step up and make plays. We don't expect to have a downfall when somebody when somebody goes. Somebody has to step up and rise to the occasion."

Head coach Tommy Tuberville praised the play of the defensive line in the scrimmage, but Muschamp says the group still has something to prove.

"We have got some talent there, but we just haven't played yet on Saturday," the defensive coordinator says. "Scrimmages are great and our offensive line is good and our backs are good. They run the ball well, but still, really to me, the biggest test is on Sept. 2nd. We are uncertain of what we have got until that point.

"We have pushed them hard and they have responded to what we are trying to do. We have been real pleased with them so far, but we have to continue to progress and develop more depth."


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