Can Auburn turn around the defense this week against a true freshman quarterback? Shanna Lockwood USA TODAY Sports
To say Will Muschamp's first season back as Auburn's defensive coordinator has been a disappointment would be a massive understatement. With a number of starters returning and the defensive guru's knowledge and experience, few if any saw the defense getting worse.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, that's exactly what was happened.
Auburn has regressed in both scoring defense and total defense heading into November and with games against Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama to close out the conference slate, if things don't quickly change, the Tigers could end the year with the SEC's worst defense.
The Tiger defense will get its first opportunity to turn things around by going up against Texas A&M and new quarterback Kyler Murray, who had an exceptional performance in his first career start last weekend.
Muschamp spoke Wednesday on the challenges the dual-threat Murray will pose to his defense in College Station.
"You have to handle his legs, you have to handle his accuracy, you have to handle his ability to win," Muschamp said. "He was at Allen High School and never lost. I've been knowing about him for a long time. He's an impressive player, extremely talented, a guy you have to account for on every snap in everything you do."
The Tigers defense has had success stopping running quarterbacks so far - Chad Kelly had only 21 rushing yards last week and Dak Prescott had only 14 rushing yards - but Murray's speed is unlikely any the team has faced from a quarterback all season.
"I mean this guy's quick as a cat," Muschamp said. "He's got arm talent. He can run. He's got a great competitive disposition about himself.
"He's just a guy that's very difficult to defend from the standpoint of you play man-to-man, you risk a missed tackle and he's faster than most of the guys we're going to have on the field."
Expect Auburn to spy the Aggies quarterback and force the true freshman to beat them with this arm. If the Tigers can force a mistake or two, Murray's thrown two picks on only attempted 59 passes on the season, they stand a chance to pull the upset on the road.
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