Auburn freshmen Jeff Holland, left, and fellow freshman Carlton Davis celebrate after making a play Saturday
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Will Muschamp says his Auburn defense earned some confidence in Saturday against Mississippi State, and that had the defensive coordinator finding something he could build on.
Like guys he could rely on.
"We have those guys on this football team," Muschamp said. "You rely on those guys in the locker room.
"We want to stay upbeat, we want to stay positive and continue to improve the team. That's the message from Coach Malzahn all the way down to everybody in the organization. It's about improvement. We did make improvement from last game to this game, but did not get the results. That's the bottom line.
"You go back and look at it… what can I do better? That's always my question for the players, and I pose the same question for myself. What can I do better this week, because, obviously, what I did last week wasn't good enough.
"You pose it to yourself as a coach first of all, then you go back to your players and you get them to ask themselves."
Mississippi State won 17-9, scoring just a field goal in the second half, and that was a better showing for Auburn than the previous week at LSU. Auburn will be looking to improve again when it plays host to San Jose State in a 3 p.m. Saturday homecoming game in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Muschamp said his defense did a good job executing his plan against State, but "let's make another third down stop. Let's create more momentum for our football team in the first half when our offense was moving the ball."
"Overall, I thought we played hard. I thought we tackled much better. I think we had six missed tackles for the game, so that was an improvement from the week before. We didn't do enough to win the game.
"We've got a lot to work on and we'll continue to do so."
Muschamp also said…
• Blake Countess is his best safety. And his best nickel back. Countess was a cornerback… until he started at safety, replacing Rudy Ford, against Mississippi State.
"We need to play better at the positon. That's the bottom line. We're not getting the production," Muschamp said "Some of the things didn't show up as far as where we could have been beaten. It didn't show up on the stat sheet. But certainly the next coordinator is watching them, and will on down the line."
• Linebacker Tre' Williams, who was knocked out with an injury in the third quarter, is on track to return.
"He's going to be fine. He did not practice tonight, but we expect him back Tuesday. We fully expect him back this week."
Williams and Justin Garrett started at linebacker. Overall, he said, the linebacker play was better.
"I thought we aligned better, the eye control was better, I thought we played blocks in the core better. I thought we did some better things, nothing that was outstanding."
• He liked the overall bounce-back performance
"They were embarrassed obviously from the previous week. That wasn't the standard we want to play with and was unacceptable in Baton Rouge. That starts with me. We need to do more to win the game."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine