Sunday Defensive Notes

News, notes and quotes from Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp following the 30-24 loss at LSU.

Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was obviously not pleased with the play of the secondary in the loss to LSU. Matt Flynn completed 22-34 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns. The Auburn defense had done a solid job all year of not allowing the big play, but had trouble in that area on Saturday.

Keiland Williams took a screen pass 46 yards for LSU's first touchdown. Richard Murphy also caught a screen for 17 yards. Tight end Richard Dickson had a 25-yard reception on a bootleg and Early Doucet had a 33-yarder into double coverage on a post. Among Demetrius Byrd's 89 receiving yards were a 58-yarder on a go route and the 22-yard game-winner in the corner of the end zone.

"We gave up over 300 yards passing, and you're never pleased with that," Muschamp notes. "We lost them on a couple of nakeds for 20-plus yards. Obviously the one deep ball for 58 was a huge swing in the game. We played well in the red area and we held them in the red area. We can't afford to give up the chunk plays defensively."


All six of LSU's second half possessions went for at least 44 yards. The home team went 56 yards for a field goal, 44 yards before Patrick Lee's interception, 58 for a field goal, 85 for a touchdown, 55 for a field goal and 58 for a touchdown.

"It was just big plays," Muschamp says. "We get the ball thrown over our head in three-deep, we missed a couple of nakeds and boots there. We had some opportunities certainly but we didn't quite get it done.

"We got a little tired, but that's part of the game," he adds. "You've got to play through that and I thought our kids played hard and competed well throughout the entire the game. I didn't think there was a spell in the game where we didn't compete well. I thought we competed hard and played hard the entire fourth quarter.

"Twelve missed tackles was the most we've had all year, and a lot of that had to do with LSU. They've got some athletes, they've got good perimeter players and they rolled a lot of them. They rolled a lot of guys in there and they did a good job in space of what they were trying to do. We didn't do as well as we had before.

LSU had eight different players with at least one rush and eight different players with a reception.


Muschamp says that his top production players versus the Tigers were Sen'Derrick Marks, Antonio Coleman, Quentin Groves, Josh Thompson, Pat Sims, Chris Evans and Tray Blackmon. He adds that it was good to get Groves back on the field.

"He played some regular down, but mostly third down," Muschamp says of Groves. "He played 20-plus snaps. He'll get more and more snaps, it's just a matter of getting him back in the fold on regular downs and getting more practice."

The senior end had three tackles, including a sack that tied the school record for a career with 26. He also forced a fumble on punt coverage, which was recovered by LSU.


The game-winning touchdown pass from Flynn to Byrd came as a surprise to nearly everyone involved with the game. When asked if he saw it was coming, Muschamp said, "I had absolutely zero (idea).

"I would make the same call in the same situation and I would want the same guy covering him," he adds. "The kid made a great throw and the kid made a great catch. Jerraud (Powers) had great coverage. It was two great players going to battle in the end zone for the ball and their kid came out on top. Again, I'd make the same call and I'd have the same guy covering him."

LSU, needing a just field goal to win and well within range, had a timeout remaining. However, Flynn ran the clock under 10 seconds before taking the snap and throwing the 22-yard score. Powers was in position but was unable to knock the ball away. A tipped pass could have potentially run out the clock.

Muschamp says that his players, including Powers, came back on Sunday with a positive attitude despite the tough loss.

"They're obviously down. We've got a bunch of competitive guys in the room and they're hurt and they're down. They'll bounce back--they always do over tough times since I've been here in two years. It was certainly a tough loss to swallow, but they'll bounce back."

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