AU Defensive Coordinator Praises Tide Offense

Auburn, Ala.--Defensive coordinator and secondary coach Will Muschamp says if the Auburn Tigers are going to win Saturday's regular season finale at Alabama the Tigers must do a good job of defending Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson.

The first-year starter passed for a career-high 291 yards in his team's 28-14 loss to LSU last week. He needs to 212 yards vs. Auburn to set a school record for most passing yards in a single football season for a Bama quarterback.

"He is a very good athlete," Muschamp says. "The kid's a gutsy player. You watch the film and you like him more and more from a competitive standpoint. He won a lot of games there in high school at Hoover.

"He is a guy that will pull the ball down and run," Muschamp says. "We need to keep him contained in the pocket, something we have worked on all week.

"I think Saturday night they played with a lot of confidence against a good defense," Muschamp says. "I think John Wilson has come along and played well for them. He is throwing the ball well. He has a lot of confidence. He gets the ball out quick.

John Parker Wilson has passed for 2,344 yards in 11 games this season.

"D.J. Hall and Keith Brown (injured) are outstanding receivers," the Auburn coach says. "Nikita Stover has come along for them. Will Oakley has played well in some spots for them at wideout. They have grown up there. Two years ago they decided to play with some guys as freshmen and now you are starting to see the experience they have gained in playing."

Alabama, which is 6-5 overall, will be trying to snap a two-game losing streak against the 9-2 Tigers. Bama is 2-5 in the SEC while Auburn is 5-2.

"At the tight end position I think they have two good at the point blockers," Muschamp says of the Tide's offense. "I think Darby (tailback Kenneth Darby) and Johns (tailback Jimmy Johns) complement each other extremely well. Darby has been an outstanding back there for a long time. He is the second all-time leading rusher at Alabama. That says it.

"I think they have probably the best fullback in the league. Either Southerland (Georgia's Brannan Southerland) or McClain (Le'ron McClain) from Alabama are the two best fullbacks in the league," Muschamp contends. "Offensive line-wise what they do they do well, they block the power well, the leads, the zone cuts, a lot of the runs well. I think the freshman tackle (Andre Smith) probably will be as good a player as there is who has played in this league. He is that good--in time. They are playing with some confidence now. We need to go out and put the fire out early and play well."

Auburn did just the opposite last week, letting Georgia jump on the Tigers early as the Bulldogs were 37-15 winners in Jordan-Hare Stadium, handing Auburn its second loss of the season.

"You have got to stop the run," Muschamp says of this week's opponent. "You can let them big-play you down the field. They run a lot of play-action over routes, which are three-deep beaters so when you build your eight-man front you have got to be able to handle those routes. They hurt LSU on those. They hurt people throughout the entire season on those.

"They will vertically stretch you," Muschamp adds. "They will probably take six or eight shots (on deep passes) in the game. We have got to be able to keep the receivers cut off, which will be a key, but it all boils down to stopping the run. You have got to be able to be consistent against the runs."


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