Cassanova McKinzy (8) and Auburn's defense looking for a rebound against Mississippi State
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Will Muschamp says Auburn's slow start defensively hasn't changed his resolve.
"I'm in this for the long haul. This is a great place to be and I'm excited about the players we have on campus and the players we're recruiting," Auburn's defensive coordinator said after Wednesday's practice.
Muschamp says changes in the defensive personnel could be on the way heading into Saturday's game with Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Both teams are 2-1. Muschamp said he'd welcome the return of linebacker Justin Garrett, who missed the last game with a quad injury.
"We've got to do a better job of coaching the guys and putting them in situations where they can be successful," he said. "That's your job as a coach. I haven't done that good enough. It will get better."
Auburn will be looking for better run defense, in particular, after a loss at LSU last weekend, and with the prospect of facing running quarterback Dak Prescott on Saturday.
"We have good enough players to have a good defense, and we will before the year is up," Muschamp said. "I'm excited about Saturday night, another opportunity. That's the bad thing about football: You got to wait a week to play."
Muschamp said he's "very frustrated and disappointed."
"We just to do a better job of preparing the players."
Muschamp, known as a defensive guru, said he's "never been in this situation" to start a season on defense, but predicted things will begin to turn for the better. That could mean a change in the depth chart.
"You've got to make some changes. That's just bottom line," Muschamp said. "You can't continue to get the same results, and, really, the first two games winning coats and soothes a lot of things. I've been trying to tell these guys every Sunday after the game, we got to communicate better, we got to have better eye control, we have to have better discipline."
Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy could continue to get snaps at the Buck position, the position Carl Lawson played before he suffered a hip injury.
"We'll continue to look, we just got to find our best 11 right now," Muschamp said. "Guys that will play within the scheme, and system, doing things the right way, look at the right stuff and execute the call."
Garrett, who returned a fumble for a touchdown to help Auburn beat Louisville in the season opener, saw limited time in the win over Jacksonville State in the second game and was held out after pregame warmups at LSU. Muschamp said there's "no question he will play Saturday."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine