Defensive Discipline a Focus Point for Auburn

    Penalties were a major problem for Auburn in 2014. New defensive coordinator Will Muschamp wants to fix that.

    July 13, 2015

    Auburn ended the 2014 season losing four of its last five games, and a lack of discipline on the defensive side had a lot to do with the slide.  The Tigers racked up a whopping 68.9 penalty yards per game, and coach Gus Malzahn knows that for the Tigers to reach their full potential, those penalties have to stop.

    “We faltered,” Malzahn said on Monday at SEC Media Days.  “Matter of fact, we faltered in the second half of the season (with penalties).”

    Malzahn made a change at defensive coordinator after the regular season, bringing in Will Muschamp, who Malzahn continually called “the best defensive coordinator in football” on Monday.

    “He (Muschamp) has that presence around him,” Malzahn said.  “He gives all the coaches confidence, he gives his players confidence. He has the ‘it’ factor.”

    Muschamp will be serving his second stint as Auburn’s defensive coordinator, with the first coming in 2006-07.

    The Tigers’ defense was a force under Muschamp, with the 2007 unit finishing sixth nationally in total defense. 

    The return of several key players, specifically Carl Lawson, should help Muschamp improve on a defense that was helpless at times last season.

    “We had trouble putting pressure on the quarterback (in 2014),” Malzahn said.  “Not having Carl, that really hurt us.”

    Lawson missed all of the 2014 season after suffering a torn ACL in spring practice. 

    Senior defensive back Jonathan Jones spoke on Monday on the impact Muschamp has had on the defense.

    “One thing you don’t want to do is make him angry,” Jones said.  “He’s intense.  He has a standard, and he’s not going to waver from it.”


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