Will Muschamp to Auburn as Defensive Coordinator: Tigers Go Boom

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Will Muschamp

Will Muschamp is headed back to Auburn, Sports Illustrated‘s Thayer Evans first reported Friday night.

Coach, your thoughts?

Tigers fans probably concur. Muschamp replaces Ellis Johnson as Auburn’s defensive coordinator, a post Muschamp held in 2006 and 2007. Johnson was fired after two seasons as the defensive leader under offensive guru head coach Gus Malzahn.

Johnson’s farewell was giving up 55 points to Alabama in the Iron Bowl, but Thanksgiving weekend was simply Auburn’s issues coming to a head. After holding each of its first five opponents to 21 points or fewer, the Tigers gave up at least 34 to everyone but FCS Samford.

Even with Malzahn’s offensive acumen producing 35.8 points per game, the Auburn defense was simply too porous to be championship caliber in a season where the SEC was wide open.

Under Will Muschamp, defense will not be an issue for the Tigers. But Auburn is going to be an issue for the rest of the conference.

Muschamp’s abortive tenure at Florida was plagued by repeated problems, but always on the offensive end. Muschamp’s defensive chops were always evident, almost producing a divisional championship in 2012 even with an offensive that would have had to improve to be called inept.

And in the lean years, the Gators were still outstanding on the defensive end.

This season, for example, Florida boasted the No. 23 scoring defense in the nation. Pair that with an Auburn offense that in scoring offense ranked — you guessed it — No. 23, and the Tigers look ready to contend for another SEC West and conference title immediately.

They’ll certainly be expected to, anyway. Will Muschamp will reportedly earn a hefty $1.6 million, making him the highest paid assistant coach in college football. Former Clemson offensive coordinator was the previous holder of that distinction and made roughly $400,000 less than Muschamp is reported to be paid.

The SEC arms race is going to another level. And it starts with a BOOM.