Will Muschamp is looking for more consistency from his Auburn defense
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Will Muschamp talked of inconsistencies, of wondering who his starters will be, of needing better communication among his defenders.
But Auburn's defensive coordinator seemed to be in a pretty good mood after Thursday's practice, or at least he was when trying to describe safety Tray Matthews' hamstring injury, or at least before conceding he really couldn't.
"I was never fast enough to pull a hamstring, so I have no idea what it feels like," he said. "I told my dad I thought I pulled a hamstring one time and he said, 'No you didn't.'"
Muschamp was still fast enough to be Georgia's defensive captain back in the day, and now he's in second stint as Auburn's defensive coordinator and is pointing to the Sept. 5 season-opener against Louisville.
He says he's working toward naming his starters. But when?
"We play at 2:30, right? 2:28. We can tell them right before kickoff so they don't get nervous. Freshmen get nervous. You tell them as late as you can."
But it hasn't been all fun and games.
"The inconsistencies is what bothers me a little bit right now," Muschamp said. "You get in this portion of camp and everybody's still a little tired and a little sore and they've got to push through it. That's where your leadership has got to show up. We're just not consistently doing that well enough at this time."
• Muschamp says he's the linebacker race is open.
"I don't know who would start Day One right now. Justin Garrett is doing a good job. Tre' Williams has done some nice things. Kris Frost is doing OK."
Cassanova McKinzy falls in that group.
"We'll see what happens. We're going to play the best guys and the most productive guys and the guys that consistently do it right all the time and do it very, very hard all the time. Being really good is hard. It takes a little heart."
• Muschamp said he was pleased Gus Malzahn picked two of his walk-on defenders to receive scholarships. He said Mike Sherwood and Aaron Garrison deserved it.
"I know how Gus is, and that's one of the things you cherish as a head coach," Muschamp said. "I was a walk-on. Gus was a walk-on. A lot of guys that go into it understanding your opportunities are limited. Mike Sherwood and Aaron Garrison are two guys that have worked hard. They have a role on this football team, whether it be special teams or on offense or defense.
"Aaron is a guy that's going to be part of our punt team. Mike is a guy that can play corner for us and certainly contribute on special teams."
• Muschamp said veteran Holsey will play cornerback and have a role in the nickel defense.
"He can play both and Josh is a guy that can go back and play safety," Muschamp said. "He's another bright young man. He's got coverage ability. He can play in the deep part of the field. He does a good job at nickel. He's got some good run instincts as far as running and pressuring."
• Here is the lineup for defensive coaches on game day: Lance Thompson will be in the booth. Muschamp, Rodney Garner and Travaris Robinson will be on the field.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine