Football means a lot to Carlton Davis, says Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Auburn defensive back Carlton Davis spoke quietly about how much it hurt, of the plays that didn't turn out right in Saturday's overtime loss at Arkansas.
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp appreciated that.
"You know what? I wish we had a lot more like Carlton ― tough, competitive, football instincts, football IQ. And that guy's got it.
"It's really, really, really important to him to be very successful, and it starts with winning and it starts with his football team and how we perform. It’s really important to that guy and it stands out to me," Muschamp said Sunday.
Muschamp said Auburn's defense had its moments in Saturday's game, but didn't do enough in the four overtimes, and that's why Arkansas won 54-46. The game was a more respectable-sounding 24-24 at the end of regulation.
Auburn allowed 357 yards through the first four quarters, and that was the Tigers' second-lowest total of the season during regulation.
"I thought we've improved," Muschamp said. "We improved a lot playing the run against a very good running team. We battled our butt off, we competed hard in the game and to get ourselves to 24-24 at the end of the game.
"Statistically, after regulation, it's probably one of our better games, too, so there's a lot of improvement."
Muschamp will be looking for more from his defense when Auburn plays host to Ole Miss at 11 a.m. Saturday. Muschamp said he figures he'll find it.
"That goes back to recruiting and recruiting good people, and we have good people ― guys that understand playing for that 'AU' on their helmet is important. I believe that, and I believe in the coaching staff here, and the players here, will continue to push forward," he said. "The biggest opportunity we have is Saturday afternoon to improve. That's what we challenged our players with today, and certainly, moving forward, that is certainly going to be the mentality and the attitude."
Muschamp said he saw that it matters to Auburn on Sunday.
"I saw an extremely hurt and disappointed group, which is good," he said. "I've been in some other situations before in my coaching career, and you walked in Sunday and you wondered whether you won or lost. The group today was a dejected bunch, and to me that's a positive because it's important to them. All the signs for this football team is it is going to continue to fight."
Muschamp's overview is this:
"I try to be realistic where we are and where we're headed. We haven't gotten the results we wanted to this point, but I know there's improvement and I know we'll continue to grind and get there. It is a grind, and it is part of where we are. But we've got to continue to work and stay the course right now with where we are. Is the results we want? No. But the results on defense haven't been good for a while, so we've just got to continue to work through it and grind and understand we will get there. That's part of the deal
"All I can do is roll my sleeves up and go to work. That's all I know what to do. But the positive thing to me is there has been improvement."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine