Muschamp Sees A Lot to Like In Opener

New defensive coordinator Will Muschamp comments on Auburn's season opener.

Auburn, Ala.--All things considered, new Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was pleased with what he saw on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

He notes there was a lot to like in Auburn's 40-14 football victory over Washington State.

"I thought we played fast and physical and didn't tackle as well in some points of the game," he says. "The two big plays (a 42-yard run to set up a TD and a 50-yard TD pass) are very disappointing, but again that is an explosive offense. I think you will see through the year these guys are going to score a lot of points."

Muschamp says he needs to take the blame for those two particular plays. "We missed a gap up front on the fit. That is my fault. We made a front adjustment and we should not have made it the way it turned out the way they were doing things in the game so that is on me.

"On the back end on the post play (TD pass), I should have simplified some things for some young kids so that is my fault. We will get that corrected."

Auburn outgained the Cougars 484-274 in total offense and the Tigers held WSU star QB Alex Brink to 67 passing yards. He hit just 11-24 passes and his star receiver, Jason Hill, managed just four catches for 18 yards with a two-yard TD pass.

"I think they are a talented team throwing the football," Muschamp says. "I think they do a good job attacking you and scheming you. I think our kids reacted well for the most part. We won the game and we held them to 14 points and this is a team that averaged 35 points per game last year."

Muschamp says the move of free safety Will Herring to strongside linebacker was effective. "I think he is pretty productive," the coach says. "He had an interception and he played well. He fit the run well for the most part that I know of. Will is a productive player wherever you put him."

Josh Thompson makes an early sack for the Tigers.

Much of the game the Tigers played with just two linebackers and an extra defensive back or two. "When they put three or four wide receivers in the game, I want to match up speed on speed," Muschamp says. "When they did that in the game we matched them with our nickel and dime personnel to get our best athletes on the field."

Head coach Tommy Tuberville says the Tigers played with intensity in the opener. Muschamp says that was the case much of the night on defense.

"I think for the most part we did that," Muschamp says. "We got tired up front late in the game and didn't rush the passer very well. And those kids need to understand we can't pressure (blitz) all of the time to get pressure on the quarterback. We have to get pressure with four, which we did for most part of the game, but I am disappointed late with our pass rush."

Linebacker Karibi Dede led the Tigers with eight tackles, including six solos. Linebacker Merrill Johnson and Aairon Savage, who made his first start at free safety, were next with three solos and one assist.


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