Will Muschamp could help make Auburn Tigers national title contenders again


With Will Muschamp now leading the defense, Auburn’s chances of making their first trip to the College Football Playoff just got better. 

RELATED: Auburn Tigers Football: 2015 Season Preview and Prediction

After four unsuccessful seasons as the head coach of the Florida Gators, Will Muschamp has returned to Auburn, where he hopes to improve a dismal Auburn defense. To say the Auburn defense was bad in 2014 is an understatement, especially towards the end of the season, and despite having so much talent on defense, the Tigers were incapable of stopping anyone.

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  • Auburn’s defense is full of highly rated recruits. It just doesn’t make sense. Their defensive line last season was one of the most talented groups in the country, but somehow, the defensive group as a whole looked incompetent throughout the season, particularly at the end.

    Auburn fans are hoping their woes will come to an end this season with the addition of Muschamp, but is Muschamp really all he’s cracked up to be?

    Muschamp’s first major defensive coaching opportunity came in 2001, when he became the defensive coordinator of the Nick Saban-led LSU Tigers. In Muschamp’s four-year tenure as the defensive coordinator at LSU, his defenses only allowed an average of 17 points per game, and in 2003, the LSU National Championship year, his defense allowed an average of only 11 points per game.

    After the 2004 season, Saban left for the Miami Dolphins, and Muschamp followed. Muschamp coached with Saban at Miami for only one season, then he took the defensive coordinator position at Auburn, where he coached for two seasons.

    Muschamp’s tenure as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator, although short-lived, was successful. His Tigers allowed an average of only 15 points per game in his two seasons, and after the 2007 season, Muschamp accepted another defensive coordinator position, this time with the Texas Longhorns.

    As the defensive coordinator of the Texas Longhorns, Muschamp’s defense allowed an average of 20 points per game in his three seasons, and after a brutal 2010 season in Austin, Muschamp took the head coaching job at Florida, replacing Urban Meyer.

    Nov 8, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp during the second half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Gators won 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

    I won’t even try to come up with elaborate stats for his tenure at Florida. It was bad. The only bright spot of Muschamp’s tenure in Florida was their Sugar Bowl appearance in his second season. That’s about it.

    Muschamp’s biggest struggle was winning SEC games. Of the 32 SEC games he coached in, his Gators only won 17. That’s 15 SEC losses in four seasons, which was unheard of prior to his arrival. One of those losses came to Vanderbilt in The Swamp, just saying.

    As the story goes, Muschamp was fired for obvious reasons, and now he’s back at Auburn as the defensive coordinator for hopefully longer than two seasons this time around.

    It’s simple. Muschamp is a great defensive coordinator; Auburn fans have much to be excited about. He’s just a terrible head coach for some reason.

    So, what does this all mean for Auburn? Well, Auburn’s off-season couldn’t have gone any better, in regards to their defense.

    We all know the Tigers’ defense was brutally bad in 2014, so going out and hiring a new defensive coordinator was not only ideal, it was necessary. They ended up hiring the best available coordinator, with much experience coaching defense in the SEC West.

    The Tigers also signed the number one recruit in the country, defensive end, Byron Cowart, who will have a major impact on Auburn’s defense, sooner rather than later, and they added another ginormous defensive lineman to their already stacked defensive line, Prince Tega Wanogho Jr., who was a four-star prospect and happens to be 6’8. The Tigers also added three four-star linebackers and a couple of four-star defensive backs.

    Truth is, Auburn had the best off-season of any team in the country, which will likely result in better play on defense, but will it be enough to bring the Tigers to their first College Football Playoff?

    A few weeks ago, I wrote the Auburn season preview, and I predicted the Tigers to win nine games, losing three games to SEC opponents: Texas A&M, Georgia, and LSU. If that were the case, Auburn would miss the playoff, but, persons smarter than I are predicting the Tigers to win the SEC.

    For Auburn to make it to the College Football Playoff, it will take some Muschamp magic. Everywhere Muschamp’s gone as a coordinator he’s had success, and with as much talent as Auburn has on defense, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be successful.

    Defense wins championships, and if Muschamp can continue to coach dominant defenses, his coaching could be the difference in Auburn making their first appearance in the College Football Playoff.

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