February 22, 2013
Johnson likes to keep it simple
AUBURN | Some defensive coordinators spend their days studying opponent personnel and devising ways to exploit advantageous matchups.
Ellis Johnson has other plans.
Auburn's new defensive coordinator, who is in the midst of installing a 4-2-5 system, spends his time identifying his best players and making them better. Then he plays them on Saturdays.
It's not a matter of intellectual fundamentalism. Johnson just hates losing on a high-risk gamble.
"When you play the big teams that do huddle, you have the ability to set up what you want to set up. You always have to have an answer for the Coach Malzahns of the world, though," Johnson said. "Some (coaches) are faster than he is. You have to have guys who can play every down. That's one reason we went to the 4-2-5 -- we felt like with three safeties on the field, opposed to three linebackers on the field, we've got guys who can play on 1st-and-10 and 3rd-and-10 and get by with them."
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