Against Arkansas, Auburn DL Sen’Derrick Marks and his fellow Tiger defenders thought defensive coordinator Will Muschamp wanted to talk.
On the sidelines, the second-year coordinator called up his defenders and huddled them together. Marks thought he had something important to say.
But he didn’t. Muschamp wasn’t looking for words. He was looking for someone to hit.
|AP: Todd J. Van Emst|
|Muschamp doesn’t settle for high-fives.|
“He just started hitting everybody, pushing everybody,” said Marks.
Marks, the sophomore, one of the last ones to circle up around the coach, said the players did the only thing they knew to do.
“They started pushing him around,” Marks said. “I wanted to get in and get me a shove, but my shove would have been a little bit too hard.”
That wasn’t the first time Marks has seen Muschamp in fiery form. There was the time against Ole Miss last year when the coach broke a dry-erase board on the sidelines out of frustration. Muschamp cut his fingers on the jagged-edged board.
“He told someone what was going to happen and it happened, but they didn’t do what he told them to do and he hit the board and broke it,” remembered Marks. “He was bleeding. He just started writing and bleeding, wiping blood and writing.”
Just three weeks ago, when Marks blocked a field goal against then-No. 4 Florida, Muschamp didn’t go for a high-five or even a chest bump.
“He (el)bowed me in my chest or my head,” said Marks. “He was bleeding.”
It’s that attitude, that in-your-face, smash-mouth football mentality, that Marks has come to love under the former Georgia defensive back.
“It’s real fun. I don’t think I’ve ever been around a coach like that,” said Marks. “He’s always crunk and that just gives the team more boost.”
Safety Eric Brock agreed with Marks. The fiery Muschamp is a bit different than what the senior saw from former coordinators David Gibbs and Gene Chizik.
“By far I think he’s head-over-heels over those other two (coordinators),” said Brock. “Not saying they weren’t good coordinators, but you get something different out of each coordinator and he brings that energy and that intensity week-in and week-out, even in practice.
“That’s what you want out of your coordinator on defense. You have to have somebody to fire you up, get up under you. He does a great job of that.”
Brock said the passion Muschamp shows on the sidelines carries over to the players on the field.
“It’s good to see emotion out of your coach. Anytime you see emotion out of them, you know it means a lot to them so it means a lot to us as well, and we want to play hard for him,” said Brock.
Even if it means taking a harder hit from the coach after making the play.