Muschamp Defenses Like to Attack

Any worry about the future of the Florida defense can be erased. The hiring of Will Muschamp comes with plenty of risk around it as he takes the first head-coaching job of his career, but there is no risk around how the Gators will perform on the defensive side of the field.

In his previous stops, Muschamp's players come close to matching his intensity. They only come close because it's difficult to match his passion. It starts on the practice field where he is a passionate teacher and motivator. On the sideline during a game, that doesn't change. Muschamp maintains that same fire as his teams are on the field.

His defensive style matches his mentality on the sideline. Muschamp loves for his teams to attack. He played safety at Georgia but served as the linebackers coach at Texas, even though his premier position to coach is the secondary. Muschamp wants his secondary to be aggressive. He often lines them up in man press coverage, trusting the cornerbacks to cover their man.

Muschamp is from the Nick Saban coaching tree, and he has a similar defensive philosophy. The main difference is that Muschamp prefers to run a 4-3 defense, compared to the 3-4 that Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart use at Alabama. The Longhorns used a 3-4 in recent years because of a shortage of defensive tackles, but the scheme Muschamp will use in Gainesville is mostly a 4-3 with the 3-4 used in some situations.

On first and second down, Muschamp is known to have his defenses stop the run. If they can get the opposing offense in an obvious passing situation on third down, his teams bring the heat on the quarterback with creative blitzes.

Muschamp's defensive success started in 2002 when he was named the LSU defensive coordinator. It took only one season calling plays for Muschamp to show how good he was. The 2003 Tigers defense led the country in scoring defense and total defense, giving up only eleven points and 252 yards per game. The 2003 defense led the SEC in every major defensive category.

Muschamp followed Nick Saban to the Miami Dolphins before the 2005 season, where he maintained his title as defensive coordinator. The Dolphins ranked 15th in the NFL in total defense, but they had no trouble getting to the quarterback. The team ranked second in the NFL with 49 sacks.

Muschamp took the defensive coordinator job at Auburn. In 2006, his Auburn defense ranked seventh in the country in and allowed only 21 touchdowns all season.

In 2007, Muschamp's Auburn defense led the SEC in scoring defense. They were in the top ten in the country in pass efficiency, total defense, scoring defense and passing defense.

Muschamp took the job as the Texas defensive coordinator before the 2008 season. In his three seasons in Austin, his defenses have combined to lead the country with 119 sacks. His Longhorn defenses allowed 96.7 rushing yards per game, good for fourth best in the country. His defenses as allowed 297.4 passing yards per game, good for seventh in the country.

The risk around the hire has been well documented, but there's no doubt the defensive side of the ball will see improvement. The success of the hire could come down to production from the offensive coordinator spot, where Florida experienced uncertainty last season.

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