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Sharing ideas: Will Muschamp's defense at home in Auburn
March 12, 2015

Will Muschamp is up close and personal in Auburn's spring practices

By Charles Goldberg

Will Muschamp says things are off to a good start in his old job, and a smooth transition into spring practice has helped the former Florida head coach begin molding his new players in the likeness that is Will Muschamp, Auburn defensive coordinator.

"We're still identifying what are guys can do right now," he said.

But of the coaches, of Gus Malzahn, Muschamp says things have been clear.

"Gus has been great, the staff has been outstanding, the players have been very welcoming," Muschamp said Thursday.

Muschamp has moved some players, like taking a look at leading tackler Rudy Ford at cornerback instead of safety, taken a look at others and said nice thinks about Carl Lawson's return.

Auburn has been an offensive team, but Muschamp says Malzahn is indeed looking for the complete package.

"I think sharing ideas is very important, and he's very open on what we need to do to be successful," Muschamp said.

He said he welcomed ideas from Malzahn "from an offensive perspective that I may see from a defensive perspective.

"The entire offensive staff and Gus have been outstanding. That's what good staffs do: They share ideas, they make sure we're able to share information, practice the right way, prepare our football team to be successful."

And to do what Muschamp likes: "We're going to have a very physical spring."

Muschamp's influence was all over Florida's solid defense the last four years. Maybe, he wondered aloud, he should have taken a bigger role with Florida's offense, too.

Anyway, he's with Auburn now and "I think we've done a nice job in our offseason because of the new rules being able to meet with them more on football. We were much more prepared coming in," he said. "This is about my sixth time doing this, as far as implementing a new system. A lot of trial and error through those years, and figuring out probably the best ways to get things taught in a timely manner for the players.

"All I told them is, 'Listen, effort's on you right now. The execution is on us, and eventually you've got to learn to execute within the scheme and what we're trying to do. Just give us effort right now and we'll coach the rest of it. Right now, I've been somewhat pleased."

Muschamp talked of Auburn's "hybrid guys," some whom played in the now-defunct Star position last season. JaViere Mitchell and Derrick Moncrief are two that fit that bill. They're linebackers now.

"We're still trying to roll guys in and play different roles," Muschamp said. "We're going to cross-train a bunch of guys at different spots. It's more about teaching the concepts of what we do and how we do it, not necessarily putting a guy in one spot because you're going to have some injuries. You never want to be in a situation of just putting the next guy in because that's where he's repped. You need to put the next best player in.

"That's what we're kind of gunning for right now as we teach our system."

Auburn expects Carl Lawson, a quality pass rusher who missed last season after knee surgery, has looked "very good," Muschamp said.

"He didn't really do a lot in bowl practice other than just some individual stuff, but he's been engaged. We're going to limit him to about half the reps in our team periods right now even in helmets. And we'll continue to do that when we're in full pads.

"Carl's a good football player, and he's played extremely well here at Auburn.

"We're going to really monitor him and watch his reps through spring practice. But I've been extremely pleased first of all with his leadership ability and how he positively affects the guys around him."

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



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