Muschamp brings new energy to Auburn Tigers defense line

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Former Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp will start as Auburn’s defensive coordinator this season.  CW File

Marquis Munson

In December 2014, after firing defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, the Tigers made the move to hire former Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp. Muschamp agreed to a three-year deal worth $1.8 million annually, making him the highest paid defensive coordinator in college football.

With Muschamp running the show on defense and the returning eight starters, Auburn will look to up the intensity on that side of the ball this season.

“He just has that presence around him that gives all the coaches confidence,” head coach Gus Malzahn said. “We’re very blessed to combine his defense with an offensive that we’ve been running. We think the future’s very bright.”

Auburn gave up an average of 388 yards and 26 points per game last season, ranking 24th in the nation. Despite Florida’s flaws on offense while Muschamp was head coach, his defense was ranked top five in the SEC and top 20 in the nation.

“It’s a different atmosphere at practice,” linebacker Kris Frost said. “As far as our defense is concerned, we are all excited. We feel like we have a new breath of life in us.”

There will also be a new atmosphere on the other side of the ball as well. The Tigers’ offense will feature a new quarterback under center with Jeremy Johnson, who has appeared in 13 games with two starts in two seasons with the Tigers.

“The offense is pretty much going to be the same,” Johnson said. “We’ve got a lot of weapons around me and I feel comfortable.”