Muschamp returns to coaching as Auburn coordinator
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Will Muschamp didn't last two weeks out of coaching.
Muschamp accepted the job as Auburn's defensive coordinator 13 days after coaching his last game at Florida and following a weeklong vacation in the Dominican Republic. By the second day he was restless and wondering to wife Carol: ''What do you do all day?''
''I'm just a ball coach and at the end of the day that's what I enjoy doing and I'm very thankful to have a great family that understands that,'' Muschamp said Saturday at his introductory news conference. ''We're looking forward to the next step.''
Coach Gus Malzahn quickly targeted Muschamp to replace fired defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. He lured him back to the sidelines with a three-year deal worth about $1.6 million annually.
Muschamp coached his last game at Florida on Nov. 29, ousted after posting a 28-21 record in four seasons. But he has led highly ranked defenses in previous stops at Auburn, Texas and LSU.
''He's got a proven track record,'' Malzahn said. ''I love his energy. I'm an energy guy, too. I really wanted somebody who had great energy and intensity, to have that defense really take on his personality. He's one of the best in the business, if not the best in the business, and we really got all the above with what we were looking for.''
Muschamp will monitor practices starting Monday leading up to the Outback Bowl New Year's Day against Wisconsin and stay busy trying to recruit more players to bolster a defense that faded badly last season. Safeties coach Charlie Harbison will serve as defensive coordinator for the bowl.
The other Auburn assistants were on hand for the news conference.
Both Malzahn and Muschamp are known for their fiery demeanors on the sidelines, which athletic director Jay Jacobs is looking forward to.
''It'll be fun to watch the sidelines if not the field,'' Jacobs said. ''Those two guys, as animated as they are, you have to divide your time up between watching the plays or watching the two coaches on the sideline.''
Auburn's uptempo offense has been productive during Malzahn's two seasons. The defense has struggled, though.
Muschamp doesn't buy into the theory that it's harder to put up strong defensive numbers when your team runs a fast-paced, no-huddle offense like Auburn.
He pointed out that Auburn averaged 72 plays compared to Florida's 70 last season.
''There's a huge difference sometimes in life in perception and reality,'' Muschamp said. ''The perception here is the hurry up, no huddle. Perception at Florida is a defensive coach was the head coach and it's three yards and a cloud of dust.
''You're talking about how many plays? Two. We played pretty good defense. It's our job to get off the field on defense and it's our job to get the ball back to the offense. That's what we plan on doing.''
Muschamp reportedly interviewed for the head coaching job at Houston and was a candidate for other defensive coordinator jobs. He said this was the only offer he received.
He also said he'd like another shot as a head coach someday provided the program has the resources to contend.
''For me it's not just about being a head coach,'' Muschamp said. ''I'd rather be a defensive coordinator at a place like Auburn, where you know you can go and compete for a championship every year. And that's what we plan on doing.''
Follow John Zenor on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jzenor