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Auburn can expect smart, tough 'D' with Will Muschamp
Jan. 19, 2015

Will Muschamp, defensive coordinator and celebrity letter, received a standing ovation at Auburn's basketball game Saturday

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Jerraud Powers says Auburn's defense is going to get its swagger back with a tough-minded, no-nonsense defensive coordinator that will demand the best of his players.

Hello, again, Will Muschamp.

Powers, a defensive back with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, played in the secondary at Auburn in 2006-07 during Muschamp's first stint as the Tigers' defensive coordinator. His memories from those years give a glimpse of what Auburn fans should expect next season with Muschamp, who was hired this time around after the 2014 regular season.

"He'll bring back the toughness of the defense the way it used to be," Powers said. "I think everybody knows he's a hard-nosed coach. It's going to be smart football with smart football players. It's going to be a defense that is not going to beat itself."

Certainly, head coach Gus Malzahn has praised Muschamp at every turn, calling his new defensive coordinator "the best defensive mind in all of college football."

Fans have certainly welcomed him back, too. He received a standing ovation as the celebrity letter turner when the cheerleaders spelled out "Auburn" during last Saturday's basketball game against South Carolina.

Muschamp knows the SEC, from playing at Georgia, coaching at LSU and Auburn, becoming the head coach at Florida. He was, for four years, with the Gators, where his offenses labored, but his defenses, under his control, finished in the Top 10 nationally every season. He listened to other job offers after Florida, but decided Auburn was the best fit.

"For me it's not just about being a head coach. I'd rather be a defensive coordinator at a place like Auburn where you know you can go compete for a championship every year and that's what we plan on doing," Muschamp said.

And it was important to get coaching again.

"I'm just a ball coach, and at the end of the day, that's what I enjoy doing and I'm very thankful to have a great family that understands that. We're looking forward to the next step," he said.

Powers can tell next year's Auburn defensive players what to expect.

"He was my coordinator the two years he was there, and he just brought a toughness to us and a confidence to us. We thought when we got on the field that there was nobody better on the field better than us," Powers said.

"He was very demanding. He expects everybody to know their job and do their job, and he holds everybody accountable. He doesn't have favorites, and that's what I liked about him. He didn't care if you were a multi-time All-American or a walk-on. He is going to treat everybody the same.

"I remember one time a guy wasn't doing his job to the best of his ability, and he let everybody know that we have to depend on each other, and be accountable to each other, because he is the reason he has a job, and if we don't perform, well, he doesn't have a job. He let everybody know that you're going to do your job or he'll find somebody who will do it. 

"You have to know the playbook in and out."

Powers predicts Muschamp will have "an immediate impact."

"I think the defense will be night and day from what it was. I know everybody thinks he's going to come in and be the savior and we're going to jump to the No. 1 defense immediately. It's going to take time, but I do think he'll make an immediate impact. People will see a difference," Powers said.

Muschamp has been careful not to make predictions. He carefully has looked ahead.

"I think the front seven is very strong," he said. 

He'll have experienced linebackers to work with, too. But it could be the defensive backs that feel the biggest change, especially if Muschamp takes control there.

"If the guys check his resume, he's coached great players, guys who have been first-round players, guys who have been All-American players," Powers said. "He's going to demand a lot out of the secondary. He's going to expect the secondary to be the smartest group on the field. 

"He's going to be demanding. I think we need that."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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