Auburn Football: Will Muschamp, Defensive Coordinator Search Update


There has been a lot of chatter – here and elsewhere – about the search for a new defensive coordinator at Auburn. But we hadn’t heard anything from Gus Malzahn until Sunday night. And even then, he kept his words, thoughts, plans, and the details of the search close to his sweater vest.

“I’m not going to get into any details regarding our search,” Malzahn said during the Outback Bowl teleconference, the post-season game the Tigers will play January 1 against the Wisconsin Badgers. “It’s just a matter of us trying to get the right guy and we’ll see the timetable on that.”

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According to nearly all accounts, the “right guy” Malzahn has in mind in recently fired Florida head coach and well-respected former defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. There have been reports of mutual interest between Auburn and Muschamp, and that he has been offered the job.

The general consensus is that Auburn football fans would love to see Muschamp back on the sidelines of Jordan-Hare Stadium where he spent the 2006 and ’07 seasons as the program’s defensive coordinator. He was also a graduate assistant in 1995 and ’96.

Malzahn didn’t say he had talked to or targeted Muschamp. But he didn’t say he hasn’t, either.

“Hopefully we can hire someone in the near future,” Malzahn said. “I’m not putting a definitive date on it and once we do that, then we can think through the bowl and all that.”

Time is certainly a factor. The Tigers will play their final game of the season in three weeks, so it is important to have someone in place to run the defense during bowl game practices and in the game. It’s not likely to be the new coordinator, but making a decision could have an impact on the field, and will most certainly affect recruiting.

However, the man also known as Coach Boom is supposedly out of the country on vacation and is not expected to make a decision on his future for a while. He’s also reportedly mulling offers from other schools, such as Texas A&M, and may be waiting to make a decision until after bowl games are played to see what head coaching opportunities may come available, or to see how things play out in the NFL.

South Carolina is also a factor.

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  • “We are going with all we’ve got through the bowl game,” Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday. “All of our coaches are under contract for next year, so unless they find another job somewhere, we are all status quo until whatever happens happens. When the bowl game is over and we try to see where we are at, if we need to add or not add or whatever we need to do, we will try to do it then.”

    Spurrier and Muschamp have become rather chummy over the last few years while Muschamp was in Gainesville – Spurrier’s old stomping grounds.

    The two were known to share rides to SEC meetings and events, and there is a belief among many that their relationship could lead to Muschamp taking a job on Spurrier’s staff – especially if a head coach in waiting-type agreement were in place to allow Muschamp to rise to the head coaching position when Spurrier retires.

    “I read where Auburn and Texas A&M offered him jobs, but I haven’t heard where we have offered him anything, but I’m sure he’ll have a chance to go wherever he feels like he is needed,” Spurrier continued. “We are trying to get through this bowl game and trying to win us a bowl game and try to get 7-6. However, we feel like we need to try to get better after that, we will look around and see whatever we need to do.”

    As for Auburn, the most likely candidate to run the defense during Outback Bowl preparations is Charlie Harbison, who held the title of co-coordinator this season. Harbison also coaches the safeties. As of now, neither he nor any current members of the Auburn coaching staff are considered to be candidates for the coordinator position in 2015.

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