Muschamp: Time to Rise to the Occasion

Comments from Auburn's defensive coordinator and secondary coach are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Saturday will be Will Muschamp's first coaching assignment against LSU, the college where he served as defensive coordinator during the 2001 through 2004 football seasons.

Players on the new Auburn defensive coordinator's team note that their coach is pumped up about Saturday's LSU at Auburn showdown. Muschamp doesn't deny that. The AU assistant knows LSU's personnel well and says his team will have a major challenge as the Bayou Bengals visit Jordan-Hare Stadium for a nationally televised showdown.

"I am just looking forward to the game," says Muschamp, whose team wrapped up on the field preparations for LSU on Thursday.

"I think we had a good week," he adds. "The kids are excited and look forward to playing on Saturday."

Muschamp's time in Baton Rouge along with his close relationship with LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, who both worked together at Auburn and LSU, has been one of the interesting storylines going into the SEC West contest.

"I think it is a lot of pregame hype and hoopla put with it, but the bottom line is getting our guys prepared to play which we did this week," Muschamp says. "We worked hard. We had a good week of practice."

In addition to coordinating the defense, Muschamp coaches the secondary, a group that will be tested by LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell and a strong wide receiver corps featuring Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis and others.

Muschamp doesn't deny it is going to be a challenge, but says, "I think it is a great opportunity. We have just got to rise to the occasion and make some plays down the field. The ball is going to be down the field and that is what we look forward to."

After a week of cool temperatures for practice, the weather forecast is for clear skies and temperatures close to 90 degrees for Saturday's game that will kick off shortly after 2:30 p.m. CDT.

"We will try to rotate a bunch of guys," Muschamp says. "It will be hot Saturday. We have to continue to play a lot of guys, especially early in the year.

"We play guys based on how they practice," he adds. "If guys have prepared well through the week and we have big confidence in them they are going to play. If guys didn't, they may not play as much. That is kind of how we structure that on how they played in the previous game and go from there."

Both Auburn and LSU are counting on a combination of proven players and relatively inexperienced players this year. Muschamp says he is counting on the veterans to help the others on Saturday.

"I think that we have good leadership," he says. "I think we have some guys who have played in a lot of big games. I think when you have players who played in the big games and experienced it they understand how to handle it and I think those younger guys kind of lean on the older guys."

LSU has crushed Louisiana-LaFayette and Arizona to open the season. When asked if this week's opponent has any weaknesses, Muschamp says, "Right now they average about 45 points a game so I don't know if there is one. We are hoping to exploit some things Saturday. Buy you a ticket and come on."

Tickets to the sold out contest are going for high prices around Auburn. Those who can't be there in person can watch it on CBS.

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