Friday, January 4, 2008

Will he or won't he? And why?

Still no word on Will Muschamp.
Auburn's second-year defensive coordinator is reportedly still in Austin, Texas, today, but there's no word of him accepting an offer to become the Longhorns' co-defensive coordinator. He interviewed for the job Thursday.
I've read a lot of message-board mess about what it might mean if he takes the job. He would become the second defensive coordinator in four years to leave Auburn for Texas, so what does it all mean?
Muschamp's and Gene Chizik's situations are different. Chizik wasn't happy under Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville, a defensive coach who maybe put his hand in the defense too much back then.
Tuberville has been hands off with Muschamp. Tubs even let Muschamp make the 3-4 alignment a regular part of Auburn's defense. Tuberville is a 4-3 guy.
Muschamp can't be worried about money or security. He has a three-year contract offer on the table, and he received a substantial raise.
He doesn't need Texas for a better chance to become a head coach. He was involed in three head-coaching searches this year. He turned down Southern Miss and probably would have been the next coach in line at Arkansas, had Bobby Petrino turned that job down.
Muschamp has plenty of resume, with coordinator successes at LSU and Auburn plus a year in the NFL.
So why would Muschamp leave for Texas?
Unless Muschamp says, it's hard to know, but there's at least one possibility I've not heard thrown out. Maybe he wants to get away because Auburn changed offenses.
Auburn made an offensive-coordinator change in December and ran Tony Franklin's spread system almost exclusively in Monday's Chick-fil-A Bowl victory over Clemson. Auburn ran 90 offensive plays in that game, something that happens by design in Tony Franklin's no-huddle, fast-paced system.
It seemed to wear down Clemson's defense, but the spread can wear down two defenses in the same game. Auburn's defense stands to be on the field for more possessions and snaps as a consequence; Clemson had 73 offensive snaps.
Before Franklin's arrival, Tuberville pretty much commanded former offensive coordinator Al Borges to play conservatively and play to the Tigers' defense. Now, with Auburn running the spread offense, Auburn's defense will be stretched more.
It's interesting that Muschamp was going for head-coaching jobs in early December, and he's interviewing for another coordinator job now. The thing that's changed in between is Auburn's offense.
Muschamp has said all of the right things about the change, but one wonders.
I'm not sure what kind of offense Texas runs, but I know it produces a lot of points and yards. The Longhorns averaged 75 plays a game this season, and opponents averaged 72.
Franklin's Troy offense led the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision at 81 plays a game during the regular season.

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