Malzahn: 'Defense got the best of the offense'
Auburn’s offense under Gus Malzahn hasn’t been a problem. The biggest issues last year came from a leaky defense that hemorrhaged yards and points as the season went along. Halfway through spring practice, Malzahn likes what he sees out of that side of the ball, led by new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.
On Saturday, Auburn held its first spring scrimmage at Jordan Hare Stadium, and according to Malzahn, it was the defense that dominated the 90-play affair.
“Defense, they got the best of the offense today. There were probably more good hits today than in any of the scrimmages we’ve had,” Malzahn told the media after practice.
Several players told AL.com that they were impressed with the way the defense was hitting, including quarterback Jeremy Johnson and cornerback Joshua Holsey. Freshman linebacker Tre’ Williams — whom Malzahn said is making Muschamp happy with his play as he gets more comfortable — apparently laid the biggest hit of all, one that players said echoed afterwards.
Malzahn praised his defense’s energy, saying that it was one of the bright spots of spring so far.
“They were flying around, they were having fun out there,” Malzahn said, adding that he was very pleased to see that side of the ball outplay the offense.
Malzahn talked about his quarterbacks, saying that he split the repetitions evenly among Jeremy Johnson and Sean White, the two main competitors for the job. Malzahn said neither did anything that stood out either way, although Johnson got slightly more work with the first team.
Malzahn was also asked about the possibility that having Muschamp in the locker room during the Outback Bowl loss to Iowa could have violated NCAA rules on the number of assistants allowed on staff at a time, with a limit of nine. Malzahn said that it was nothing to worry about, as the Tigers did not run Muschamp’s defense in the game. Malzahn said that Muschamp encouraged the defense, but didn’t do any actual coaching.
Auburn is now through eight of its 15 spring practices, with seven — including the spring game on April 18 — left to go.
To hear Malzahn’s full media availability, check out the video below courtesy of AL.com: