Auburn, Ala.--Fans wanting to see Auburn's offense open things up in the A-Day game were treated to a thrilling display of football as the Tigers scored 27 total points and moved the ball consistently throughout the day. However, if you're defensive coordinator Will Muschamp then Saturday wasn't so much fun.
Take out the fact that Auburn's defense played base for essentially the entire game. Don't mention that the Tigers didn't blitz but on a handful of occasions. Take out of your mind that Quentin Groves, Sen'Derrick Marks, Merrill Johnson, Steve Gandy, Tray Blackmon, Jonathan Wilhite, Jerraud Powers and Lorenzo Ferguson weren't on the field today. Muschamp says even with all that, what he saw Saturday didn't make him a happy man.
"I was just disappointed with the big plays," Muschamp says. "You can't give up big chunks of yardage. Playing base defense you really shouldn't be giving up big chunks of yardage. We did today in a cover-two look and they hit us on the wheel route coming out of the backfield. Those are things we rep and we do. We shouldn't make those plays and we did. That's probably the most disappointing thing."
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp gets in the face of the defense after a drive on Saturday.
Without much trickery going on with the defense, starting quarterback Brandon Cox picked the defense apart all day long as the passing game looked better on Saturday than it has all spring. Muschamp says that while the defense didn't do anything to try to confuse the offense, they need better play out of the back seven on defense and from two positions in particular.
"Playmakers at the linebacker position and playmakers at safety," Muschamp says. "We haven't produced at all at those positions or as much as I think we should. I think that's where we have to get better."
One player that hasn't had trouble making plays consistently at linebacker has been sophomore Patrick Trahan. Saturday he continued his solid play with five tackles and a sack for a 10-yard loss. Muschamp says that Trahan has been one of the brightest spots on defense this spring.
"Patrick has had a good spring," Muschamp says. "He's done a good job for us. He's really come around and has been a productive player for us. We've got to get more guys around him that are playing that way."
Another young player that stood out on Saturday was redshirt freshman defensive end Michael Goggans. Credited with five tackles and one quarterback hurry, Goggans was a disruptive force on defense and earned Defensive MVP honors for the game. Muschamp says Goggans was one of the players that stood out to him because of his activity.
"Michael Goggans was a guy that showed up and made some plays for us," Muschamp says. "He's going to be a really good player for us. It was a real good move, moving him to defensive end. We're excited to have him."
This spring has been a good one for the defense to this point as several young players have come on and shown they'll be able to help carry the load next fall for the Tigers. Now all that remains is to see how the defense learns from spring practice and what they're able to carry over into next August. By then Muschamp says things should have come together for the group.
"I think there is a long time to go," Muschamp says about developing the identity of the defense.. "You develop that through the summer as much as anything. You develop through the spring and summer and into fall camp. I think that's when you start to create your identity. We've started to do that. We've got to get some guys healthy and get some guys back on the field. That will help us as much as anything. We will be who we are come August."