Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is in the middle of rebuilding the Tigers’ defense, but his former employer will return to the SEC Championship game just a season after his departure. Florida, where Muschamp was the head coach from 2011 to 2014, clinched the SEC East with a win over Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Despite his unhappy ending in The Swamp, Muschamp is pleased to see his former team have success.
“Extremely happy for those guys,” Muschamp told reporters on Sunday night. “Jim (McElwain) has done a fantastic job.”
Muschamp was fired at the end of last season, paving the way for him to accept a job on Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s staff. The Tigers are allowing 430.6 yards per game in Muschamp’s first season, which ranks last in the SEC and 95th nationally.
However, the defense appeared to make a stride forward in the team’s upset of Texas A&M on Saturday. The Tigers held the Aggies to 303 yards of offense and forced three interceptions. The Aggies’ 10 points were the fewest allowed by Auburn this season.
“That was probably our most complete game to this point,” Muschamp said Sunday. “I’m proud of our guys.”
McElwain deserves credit for getting the Gators to the SEC Championship game in his first season, but many of the players on the Florida roster were recruited and coached by Muschamp. That explains why Muschamp said he exchanged text messages with some members of the Gators after they clinched a trip to Atlanta.
“I said that was a good locker room when I left it, and I meant it,” Muschamp said. “The foundation was set.”
Muschamp is no longer around the Florida program, but he is not absent from the minds of the players who are.