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First impressions: Auburn's Will Muschamp is watching
Dec. 18, 2014

Kris Frost and the Tigers looking to impress Will Muschamp

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Rudy Ford wants to make a good first impression on his new defensive coordinator, and what better way to do it than on his first week on the job?

Ford says the intensity has picked up this week as Auburn prepares for the Outback Bowl with Charlie Harbison taking over the defense for thel game while new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp takes it all in.

"As far as leaving an impression, you want to show your new defensive coordinator what you can do, but as players, whenever you put stuff on film, people are going to evaluate you. So you always want to go and give great effort every single time," Ford said.
"You know he's watching," said defensive back Jonathan Jones. "For a lot of guys coming back next year, it's kind of a different level because he's looking for next year, too. We're getting ready for this bowl game and he's been able to give us a little advice of what he sees, but nothing more than that."

"You do have that feeling of him kind of watching you," said linebacker Kris Frost. "So it can be nerve-wracking at times, but at the same time, it's football."

Muschamp, hired last Friday, is, officially, in an evaluation role as Auburn prepares for Wisconsin on Jan. 1. But several Auburn defensive players said Thursday his presence has made a difference as the Tigers make the transition from former defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, to Harbison calling the shots in bowl preparation, to Muschamp evaluating everything.

"We picked up our intensity a whole lot," Ford said.

Frost said the transition has been smooth enough.

"It's a whole lot of carryover. It's really not much different at all, to be honest," He said. "The intensity and the urgency of practice is higher, because obviously we have a new coordinator. Just the feel of practice is quicker, more intense. But other than that, it's pretty much the same stuff. We're going into this game just polishing things up, making sure that we do everything we can to have everyone in line when it comes time to play."

Jones said, so far, "we’re trying to keep it simple, and carry over as much as we can into the bowl game." Harbison is making the transition easier.

“Everybody’s buying in. He's been here, everybody knows him. It's not like anything different, it's just same old, same old."

Former Auburn player Travis Williams, a defensive analyst during the season, is coaching the linebackers now with the departure of Johnson. He, too, has brought intensity to the job.

"He told us the first day that he came in to coach us that it was a dream come true for him," Frost said. "You can see it each and every day that we go out there in how much intensity he puts in each and every single drill and how much focus he puts into the little things. He's made sure that we do the little things right all the time. That's really the most important thing that he's showing us lately. He's been making us get after it lately. We're seeing a different side to us as far as linebackers and we're enjoying it. We're having a lot more fun at practice."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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