War Eagle Extra

Will Muschamp 'very pleased' with defense halfway through spring

AUBURN, Ala. — Thursday marked Auburn's seventh practice of the spring. The Tigers will hold a scrimmage Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium, and after that, only seven more sessions remain.

At roughly the halfway point of the spring, new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was ecstatic with what he's seen from his unit.

"I’m very pleased with their attitude and buy-in," he said in a post-practice interview Thursday. "When you’re teaching a new scheme and system, which I've done before, I feel like we’re a little further along than most places we've been because the guys have spent a lot of time off the field of coming in and meeting with coaches extra and doing a good job of coaching each other and being real mature about trying to handle things."

Part of what's helped the Tigers adapt to Muschamp's system is having the coaching staff dialed in at the beginning of each practice. Every day, Muschamp said, the team takes the field knowing the theme of each practice. What is the purpose? What are they trying to accomplish that day?

That's when they can start to get more specific.

"Do we want to run a bunch of pressures at practice today and work on protections and have more of what I'd call 'loose-down practices' and more of first-down practices and really work on our run game, our play-action on offense ... (and) our middle-field coverages — our matches — on defenses?" Muschamp asked. "That's what good staffs do. We sit down and talk about our installation on both sides."

Next week, the Tigers will continue to delve even further into the minutiae that Muschamp hopes will have them prepared for any offensive wrinkles they might come across in the coming season.

"We've got to expose our players to things, offensively, maybe we don't give them as much of. They've got to be able to see those things," he said. "So within your package, you've got to have enough volume to expose your football team to help your team, because the worst thing you can do is get into a game-week situation and something they've never faced before."