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Future not the focus for Auburn’s coordinators heading into final week of regular season

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee directs the offense Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 in a 56-34 win over Idaho at Jordan-Hare Stadium. (Michael Niziolek | Ledger-Enquirer.com)
Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee directs the offense Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 in a 56-34 win over Idaho at Jordan-Hare Stadium. (Michael Niziolek | Ledger-Enquirer.com) (Michael Niziolek | Ledger-Enquirer.com

Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp’s name might pop up on the radar of a few FBS teams with coaching vacancies, but he threw cold water on speculation over his future Sunday night.

“My or no representative of Will Muschamp has been contacted about any job, I can assure you of that,” Muschamp said.

With one week left in the regular season, there are 12 coaching openings across the country including high-profile ones at USC, Miami and Virginia Tech.

There are already two openings in the SEC with Steve Spurrier stepping down at South Carolina and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel retiring. Reports out of LSU paints a bleak outlook for coach Les Miles’ future at the school.

Muschamp’s three-year contract requires the defensive coordinator to pay the school $1 million if he leaves before the SEC Championship game. He’s free to pursue other coaching opportunities after December 5.

He doesn’t sound like he’s in a hurry to test the waters.

In previous press conferences, he’s talked about his long term future at Auburn and turning the defense around.

“I’m in this for the long haul,” Muschamp said in late September. “This is a great place to be and I’m excited about the players we have on campus and the players we’re recruiting, Gus and the job he’s doing here.”

Muschamp was 28-21 in four seasons as Florida’s coach with a 1-1 record in bowl games. His best season came in 2012 when he coached the Gators to an appearance in the Sugar Bowl at 11-2.

On the other side of the ball, Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee isn’t the coaching prospect he was at the beginning of the season.

Auburn’s offense is ranked 10th in the SEC this season and its passing offense is one of the worst in the country. 

The 32 year old didn’t sound overly concerned at his press conference Sunday night about not being in the mix for a head coaching position this offseason.

“I didn’t go into this year thinking this year meant a whole lot to me more than any other,” Lashlee said. “We went into this year like every other year trying to do the best we can.”

Lashlee concedes it’s been a down year for the offense, but said the high level of recent success has made this year’s struggles seem more significant than they are.

“This year we've struggled at times more,” Lashlee said. “There are some things we've done well, and there are some other things we haven't done as well. You coach long enough you're going to have years where you struggle.”

Muschamp said the championship-level expectations for both coordinators at Auburn isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“It’s part of the deal,” Muschamp said. “You sign up to be a coach that’s part of the deal. You want to be at a place where there are high expectations because it means you’ve got a chance to win a championship.”

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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