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What Marcus Woodson will stress

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What Marcus Woodson will stress to Auburn's defensive backs

Updated Jan 10, 11:30 AM; Posted Jan 10, 11:32 AM

Marcus Woodson was hired as Auburn's 10th assistant football coach last week. He spoke at the AFCA convention in Charlotte on Sunday. (James Crepea/


By James Crepea

Marcus Woodson opens the year with a message to freshmen defensive backs: The ball is money.

"If I slapped $100 bill on the wall and I say the first guy to get to that ball gets a $100 bill, how hard would you play?," Auburn's newest assistant coach said during a workshop session at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Charlotte. "They all say, 'I'm going to get that ball.' It's money, treat it like that. The more you get the ball back, the more money you make as a football player."

Hired as Auburn's 10th assistant football coach last week, Woodson shared insight about the core techniques he teaches entering his 14th season coaching defensive backs.

The three areas Woodson said he stresses and works on every day in practice, regardless of whether it's in helmets only, shells or full pads, are block destruction, tackling and playing hard.

"In everything we do, every drill that we do, you've got to finish in a dominant position," Woodson said while showing clips of his players at Fresno State and Memphis perform drills and in games. "You've got to let (players) know how you want them to finish."

Woodson said it's still to be determined whether he'll coach corners or safeties at Auburn, where Greg Brown coached the entire secondary this season.

"Coach Steele and coach Malzahn, those guys have been successful way before I got there," Woodson said. "For me, I'm not coming in and reinventing any kind of wheel. I'm just trying to do my part to the best of my ability to take that next step as a program. ... For 13 of my years I had the entire secondary for nine (and) four of those 13 I either had the safeties or the corners. Even if coach Steele came and said, 'I want you to coach the outside backers,' I'm going to find a way to critique my craft and perfect it and get better to make those guys better.

"Either way, coach Brown has been coaching football as long as I've been living. To get a chance to work with him and learn from him is going to be something I'm looking forward to."

Woodson showed mostly highlights of the play of his cornerbacks both against the run and pass to a packed room of coaches.

He teaches corners to backpedal as opposed to shuffle.

"I believe the more that I can stay square on the receiver to maintain my cushion and drive top-down on the route, the more successful we're going to be," Woodson said.

Auburn's defensive backs will likely spend a lot of time tackling large rolling donuts, which Woodson prefers to stationary dummies.

Woodson said the relationships between the coaching staffs at Auburn and Memphis, specifically between Mike Norvell and Gus Malzahn as being helpful in him ending up on the Plains.

He also cited the satellite camp at Memphis last summer, which Auburn coaches attended, as being critical to showing Steele and Brown his ability to coach.

"That specifically was when coach Steele and coach Brown were able to watch me work a little bit," Woodson said. "We had 1,000 DBs at that one camp and having to manage that many kids and organize the drills, they got a chance to see me work on the grass."

Norvell said Woodson will bring a "tremendous work ethic" to Auburn.

"He's a great person (and) teacher," Norvell said. "Obviously, he's deep-rooted in his ties in this region and did an exceptional job for us at Memphis. You hate to see anybody go, but the opportunity that's presented itself there at Auburn. I know the people that are there, I know the leadership. I'm excited for Marcus and his family and also what he's going to bring to Auburn football."

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

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I'm actually more pleased with this hire after reading some of these quotes.

1. Yay backpedaling - this means we'll be facing the ball!

2. Finishing in dominant positions is something we emphasize when coaching wrestling as well. Really helps the players finish moves and not let up all the way to the end. Plus it gives them the feel of being an 'alpha' over their opponent.

3. The money aspect probably connects to these kids more than anything. Average 2-3 interceptions per season and you'll likely be drafted to be honest.

War Eagle coach Woodson! Let's lay some...wood :beer2:

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