Auburn's Defense Struggles In Final Scrimmage

Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp talks about Auburn's final scrimmage of spring training.

Auburn, Ala.--In football scrimmage one this spring for the Auburn Tigers, the offense was manhandled by the defense.

Scrimmage two was more of the same. The offense made major improvement for scrimmage three, last Saturday's A-Day Game, but was able to take its performance well beyond that level on Wednesday as Auburn wrapped up spring practice.

Except for a stretch during the middle of the scrimmage, the offense dominated the action, scoring 10 touchdowns and two field goals in 20 offensive possessions.

"In 15 spring practices we progressed in 13 and we took two steps back at the end which is disappointing," defensive coordinator Will Muschamp tells Inside the Auburn Tigers.

"My hat's off to the offense," he adds. "We got physically and mentally whipped today. That was the most disappointing part.

"We have just got to develop in the offseason," Muschamp adds. "We have to develop more physical and mental toughness and more leadership on our side of the ball and continue to search for playmakers who make plays. That is the bottom line."

Playing against a defense with key players watching from the sidelines with injuries, Brandon Cox and his receivers had a big scrimmage. The senior threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. He hit 14-18 passes and put up the impressive number despite two perfectly thrown passes that were dropped by Prechae Rodriguez.

The defense did better against backup QBs Neil Caudle, Steven Ensminger and Blake Field. Caudle was 3-8 for 58 yards, but threw an interception as did fellow freshman Steven Ensminger, who was 3-7 for 20 yards. Field, who is still bothered by a sore shoulder, attempted just four passes and completed two for six yards.

Although the backup QBs didn't pass for any touchdowns, three of the 10 TDs came with Caudle in the game. Ensminger was on the field for two TDs and Field was the quarterback on one touchdown drive.

Sophomore linebacker Patrick Trahan hits tight end Tommy Trott in the scrimmage. Trahan was the leading tackler with three solos and three assists.

The highlight for the defense was three forced turnovers when safeties Eric Brock and Blake Shrader intercepted passes and freshman defensive end Darrell Roseman recovered a fumble.

Four of the touchdowns were scored with Cox and the first offense in the game going against a combination of first stringers and backups filling in for injured players like Sen'Derrick Marks, Merrill Johnson, Jonathan Wilhite and Steve Gandy.

Asked if there were any positives defensively in the scrimmage, Muschamp says, "With the first group is kind of how you have got to look at it because those are the guys who are going to be playing in the fall. We did get some turnovers, which was pleasing, but I don't know. We have not been used to giving up those big chunks of yardage and that overrides whatever else you did because that loses games for you."


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