AUBURN, Ala. — Will Muschamp hasn't been able to do any on-field coaching just yet. But Auburn's new defensive coordinator has already been able to get a grasp on his unit thanks to the Tigers' offseason workout program.
Coaches are permitted to monitor their players' progression in the weight room. And according to Muschamp, he's been able to do a bit more than that since he was hired in December.
"The NCAA allows us to meet with them and go over football and talk in terms of film. And (we can) watch film and go over football — schemes and things," he said. "You're able to do a lot more now than two years ago by what rules allow. But you play football with a helmet and shoulder pads on, and that's what I'm waiting to see."
In 15 practices this spring — including the annual A-Day game on April 18 — Muschamp will have the chance to get a better feel for the players already on the roster. But this summer, the Tigers will bring in members of their 2015 recruiting class. Thanks to a change in the NCAA's by-laws made in December 2013, coaching staffs can now require players to take part in summer activities, capped at eight hours per week. Previously, coaches were not allowed any contact with their players during the summer months.
While the amended by-law doesn't include on-field activities, coaches can now work with players on conditioning, weight training and — perhaps most importantly — studying film up to two hours per week.
It is that aspect, Muschamp believes, that plays the biggest part in helping a high school player make a successful transition to the college level.
"A lot of it has to do with scheme, terminology, being able to understand (things), not thinking, but reacting when you get on the field," he said. "That's a huge part of being a good football player — being able to play fast and not have to think about your assignments, but react to your assignments. For guys, the more they hear it, the more reps they get at it mentally and physically, helps them be a better player."