Will Muschamp says Rudy Ford gives Auburn's defense more flexibility
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Rudy Ford is back doing Rudy Ford things, winning SEC player of the week honors and giving Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp more flexibility in his secondary.
"Better than he's played for the year," Muschamp said of Ford's team-leading 14-tackle effort against San Jose State last weekend.
Ford's play in the Auburn secondary, after not starting the week before, allowed Muschamp to move around the versatile Blake Countess to various positions. Muschamp is continuing to tinker with his defense during this off week, hoping the injured defensive back T.J. Davis, Tim Irvin and Tre' Williams can return, talking about playing young defensive tackles Andrew Williams and Jaunta'vius Johnson.
Muschamp said his defense is "absolutely" engaged in trying to improve.
"The work we've had the last two days have been outstanding. I've been very pleased," he said.
Ford was named SEC player of the week for his special teams play last Saturday, but his main job is to play defense. He leads Auburn with 49 tackles.
"He still has a lot of things to clean up," Muschamp said. "He's a guy who is willing to work and do the things to be successful. To get Tim back that helps us. It gives us flexibility with Blake to play safety and do some other things there. We'll have to continue to get our best combination of guys."
Muschamp said he expects Irvin and Williams, each of whom missed the last game with injuries, to be available for Auburn's game at Kentucky next Thursday night. Muschamp is also hoping Davis, another defensive back, will make his season debut after knee surgery in the spring.
"He's a smart guy who has played, he's played on Saturday, and that's important," Muschamp.
"It's another guy that will be able to go into the fold and played before, and that certainly will help."
Muschamp changed up things last week when he moved linebacker Cassanova McKinzy to the Buck position in an effort to get more pass rush.
"He made some plays. Everything was totally brand new for him," Muschamp said. "We’re struggling to create some negative plays in one-on-ones. We felt like we needed to get a guy in there to win some one-on-one matchups. I thought we won some one-on-ones. Everything being brand new for him, I thought he did well."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine