Muschamp Familiar with Ricard, Green Wave

Auburn defensive coordinator gives his take on facing quarterback Lester Ricard and the Tulane offense.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn defense played perhaps its best half of football to come from behind and beat Florida. However, as the Tigers went back to practice on Sunday it was time for them to end the celebration of the 27-17 victory and turn their attention to the visiting Tulane Green Wave.

The Green Wave is led offensively by quarterback Lester Ricard, who was selected as the Conference USA Player of the Week two games ago after throwing for 344 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-24 win over Rice. He also threw for 248 yards in a 34-20 loss to UTEP over the weekend. Ricard originally signed with LSU out of Amite, La., High School before transferring, and he was recruited at LSU by none other than Will Muschamp.

"The kid comes from a great family," Muschamp says. "He's an extremely talented guy when you watch him throw the football. He's a 6-4, 6-5 kid. He's got a tremendous arm and talent. He got behind the eight ball at LSU with some of the quarterbacks who were there. He felt like (Tulane) was the best opportunity for him.

"He's more of a pocket guy, but he has the ability to scramble when he can," Muschamp adds. "He's more of a guy that's going to sit in the pocket and throw the ball, but certainly a guy that's very capable of running the ball if he needs to."


Muschamp celebrates the victory over second-ranked Florida.

Tulane was an annual rivals with Auburn when they were in the Southeastern Conference, and the Green Wave holds a 17-13-6 advantage in the series. The two schools haven't played since 1955, but Muschamp is familiar with the program from his days at LSU.

"We played them when (head coach Chris Scelfo) was there when I was at LSU my first year," he notes. "Just being familiar with the systems and when Tommy Bowden was there, being familiar with what they've done in the spread, one-back runs, the zone, some (shot)gun runs. They'll try to no huddle you and get you a bit on personnel and try to get mismatches on you."

Tulane is just 2-4 this year and is averaging 369.2 yards and 22 points per game.

Muschamp says that his defensive line played its best game as far as getting off blocks against Florida, particularly in the second half. He was also pleased that his defense came up with three second half turnovers against the Gators, including the controversial fumble.

"If the official calls it a fumble then it's a fumble," he says. "I'm one of those coaches that if they call holding, it's holding. If they don't call it then it's not. If they call pass interference then it's pass interference, if they don't call it it's not. Some of these coaches sit there and complain in the paper and talk about what woulda, coulda, shoulda. That doesn't get you a W and they're not going to change the score. Five years from now it's still going to be 27-17, right?"


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