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Auburn’s most intriguing storyline: Will Muschamp improving the defense

The Auburn Tigers will start spring practice in just under a week, and what we’re looking for this spring is the tangible impact of Will Muschamp on the Auburn defense. Last season the Tigers’ defense struggled pretty much across the board, finishing the year 63rd in scoring defense allowing 26.7 points per game (they allowed 40.4 points per game in their losses).

Will Muschamp comes back to Auburn after a rocky tenure as Florida’s head coach, but his defenses in Gainesville were never the issue. Muschamp made an early impact on the recruiting trail for the Tigers, helping them land 5-star DE Byron Cowart and others, and now we get to see what his impact will be on the field. Muschamp is a stickler for discipline in the secondary — something Auburn lacked in 2014 — and he will not tolerate sloppy play leading to the opponent getting a big play.

The pass rush should improve this year with DaVonte Lambert (back in the fall), Carl Lawson (back this spring from injury), and Byron Cowart (arriving in the fall) all coming off the edge for Auburn. Muschamp will look to make the defense more aggressive getting to the ball, but also disciplined enough to maintain their assignments and avoid the disastrous plays and broken coverages that hurt them in 2014. When the spring game rolls around on April 18, we’ll have a chance to see what strides the defense has made in Muschamp’s first month working with them, and hopefully they’ll lay a foundation to build on for the fall.

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