Muschamp Anxious To See Defense In Action

Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp gives his take on the beginning of the 2006 season.

Auburn, Ala.--The season opener will have a distinctly different feel for the Auburn defense Saturday night.

First and foremost it will be the first game starting for almost half of Auburn's lineup. Most importantly, it will be the first start for anyone in Coach Will Muschamp's system.

A complex system, it is full of blitzes and personnel changes that require a player's full attention to master. Because of that Muschamp says it makes things a little tough for the season opener because you walk a fine line in how much you put in a game plan.

"It's your job as a coach to make sure you don't do too much and you don't do too little," Muschamp says. "In this league if you don't do enough people pick on you unless you're just better than everybody. You have to give multiple looks.

"We're not going to do so much our kids don't understand what to do. We're going to make sure the player understands there is going to be some first-game jitters. We've got a bunch of young kids. Communication is going to be key so we're going to keep it simple."

Aairon Savage is hoping to make the same kind of impact that freshman LaRon Landry had for LSU in 2003 while playing for Muschamp, AU's first-year defensive coordinator.

Because of his need for communication, Muschamp will be on the field for Auburn's season opener and every game the Tigers play. An on the field coach during his time at LSU as a coordinator, Muschamp says that he wants to be there when his players have a question or a concern and to do that he must be on the field.

"I think it's important for the kids to see you and your demeanor and how you're going to handle the situations as far as making the adjustments," Muschamp says. "I don't want to be telling somebody on the headset what we need to do. I'm going to make sure I'm down there to do it."

Auburn's secondary coach, Muschamp will have one new starter in his group in Savage. He won't be the only newcomer to see game action though as several top backups will be playing for the first time in college including Jerraud Powers in the secondary and linebackers Patrick Trahan and Craig Stevens. Muschamp says that so far his secondary has adapted well to his coaching methods and he's happy with the progress they've made this fall.

"I think every coach is different," Muschamp says. "It takes a while for them to get used to me and how I want things done and the way I want it done. I think they have a good grasp of why we do what we do. That's the thing I have been most pleased with.

"We don't always do it right, but the kids know when they make a mistake as opposed to in the spring when they didn't know up from down. It has been a good progression and I'm interested to see how we're going to play."

A former player at Georgia before coaching at Auburn and LSU along the way to his return to the Plains, Muschamp knows what SEC football is all about after playing and coaching it. As someone who enjoys teaching the game of football and life to his players, Muschamp says that he's ready to see how well his defense comes out of the gate and plays against a talented Washington State club.

"I enjoy training camp and two-a-days and spring ball," he notes. "Now it's building to the season. This is why we do what we do. I'm looking forward to Saturday night. I know our kids are. It builds every year to this point. You always worry about what you didn't do or cover. You just have to let the kids play. We've prepared them well to this point. We've had a good camp and we're looking forward to Saturday night."


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