Auburn Tigers head football coach Gus Malzahn said his new defensive coordinator and former Florida Gators head football coach Will Muschamp is "the best defensive mind in all of football" during SEC Media Day on July 13.
In Gus Malzahn's opinion, Will Muschamp is the ultimate defensive guru in football.
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This was what the Auburn Tigers head football coach declared on SEC Media Day on July 13, per ESPN's Greg Ostendorf:
"In my opinion, he is the best defensive mind in all of football, not just college football. His approach, his energy, his enthusiasm for the game, he just has that presence around him that he gives all the coaches confidence. He's got the 'it' factor.
"He may have been the best recruit in our recruiting class."
Muschamp's hire could not have come at a better time.
Ostendorf stresses the Tigers "allowed at least 30 points" in their last seven games of the 2014 NCAA season. The low point came when Auburn surrendered 55 points to in-state rival the Alabama Crimson Tide in last season's Iron Bowl.
Auburn dismissed defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson the following day, per ESPN.
This is Muschamp's second tour of duty with Auburn, as he previously served as the team's defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2007. The Tigers were ranked in the nation's Top 10 in defense with him at the helm, per Ostendorf.
Auburn will be hard-pressed to duplicate this feat, but Malzahn told ESPN remains confident Muschamp can get the job done:
"The big thing for Will is execution, playing extremely hard, giving 100 percent, flying to the football, being responsible for your position and just playing with that edge.
Auburn’s Gus Malzahn on new DC Will Muschamp: "The best defensive mind in all of football, not just college football"— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 13, 2015
"Our guys in the spring really started to take on Will's personality, and that's a good thing."
Back in April, Muschamp told AuburnTigers.com's Charles Goldberg he expects the team's defense to be competitive next season:
"We still have long ways to go, but as far as the attitude and the buy-in, we've got a good core of guys working extremely hard. That's huge in order to have a really good football team. Work ethic has to be a part of it.
"I feel like we've made some strides from an effort and finishing standpoint, but I think we've practiced the right way, and I think that's a huge part of it."
The Tigers defense will be bolstered by the additions of Muschamp, Travaris Robinson and Lance Thompson. Robinson will coach the secondary while Thompson will be in charge of the linebackers, per Auburn's official athletics website.
Muschamp specifically singled out defensive linemen DeVonte Lambert and Carl Lawson to make a huge impact in 2015.
"To get those guys back would be really exciting," Muschamp told Goldberg.
Other Tigers players who are expected to beef up their defensive line include Dontavius Russell, Maurice Swain, Montravius Adams, Devaroe Lawrence, Elijah Daniel and Gimel President, per AuburnTigers.com.
Muschamp told Goldberg he's excited about the competition among the defensive linemen:
"I told our defense that in the front seven we have some great competition. It's going to be a lot of fun in the fall as far as guys that are competing for playing time and competing to start and understanding about being a part of that rotation up front.
"We have a lot of competition up front, so that makes my job a lot easier, especially in the summer."
Muschamp also confirmed the Tigers will fortify their linebackers corps and secondary. Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy will lead the charge for Auburn's pass rush in 2015, per Goldberg.
The Florida Gators dismissed Muschamp as their head football coach on Nov. 16, 2014 after four seasons at the helm, per The Orlando Sentinel's Edgar Thompson.
Florida finished with a 7-5 win-loss record in Muschamp's last season. He wound up with an overall record of 29-21 (.580) with three bowl appearances with the Gators, per Sports-Reference.com.
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