Auburn Football & Muschamp: ESPN Reports Mutual Interest


Ellis Johnson has been fired from his post as the defensive coordinator of the Auburn football team, which has immediately led to speculation as to who head coach Gus Malzahn will hit to replace him as the Tigers defensive play-caller.

The first name that came up, naturally, was recently fired Florida head coach Will Muschamp. And it may be more than just wishful thinking.

According to’s Greg Ostendorf and Travis Haney:

"There has been no news on a possible replacement, but has reported that there is mutual interest between Malzahn and recently dismissed Florida head coach Will Muschamp. Muschamp spent two seasons as Auburn’s defensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007."

When news of Muschamp’s firing broke, I did not think the former Auburn DC would be interested in becoming the new Auburn DC. Taking some time off or pursuing another head coaching position appeared to me a more likely option. However, if the ESPN report is accurate, the man they call “Coach Boom” might be interested in a return to the Plains.

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“At this time I felt it was best for our program to make a change with our defensive coordinator,” Malzahn said in a statement announcing Johnson’s dismissal. “Ellis is a true professional and I would like to thank him for his contributions at Auburn.”

Muschamp is also a true professional. He showed as much in how he handled a difficult situation following his own firing.

“We had our opportunities to get it done and we didn’t get it done,” Muschamp said after a 24-19 loss to Florida State in his final game as the team’s head coach. “It falls on my shoulders and that’s why they’re looking for a new coach. I’m just a guy that did it the right way. I’ll hold my head up. We just didn’t win enough games.”

Like the former LSU, Auburn and Texas defensive coordinator said, Gators fans and administrators expect more from their teams in terms of wins and losses. Florida wasn’t a good fit for Muschamp, despite his Gainesville roots, and his downfall coincided with an annually underperforming offense.

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  • But, he’s always been known as a terrific defensive mind and a phenomenal motivator: Two things the Auburn football team needs right now.

    Johnson was fired the day after the Tigers allowed 539 total yards in a 55-44 Iron Bowl loss to top ranked Alabama. The performance means Auburn finished the 2014 regular season towards the bottom of the SEC in every major statistical category. The Tigers are tenth in the league in scoring defense (26.1 points per game), ninth in total defense (388.7 yards per game), eighth in rushing defense (149.1 yards per game), and 13th in pass defense (239.2 yards per game).

    “This is part of the business and I totally understand,” Johnson said following his firing. “I did think we were good in several areas, but overall it wasn’t good enough. I’m disappointed for our players, but this is a results business. I want to thank Coach Malzahn and Auburn for the opportunity the last two years.”

    But now we all want to know – who will have that opportunity next year?

    Next: Ellis Johnson Fired as Auburn Defensive Coordinator

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