Unlike most other base defenses in college football, Auburn will be using an extra defensive back and one fewer linebacker. This scheme is called the 4-2-5 defense. It's what defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson wanted to implement when picked to join Gus Malzahn's coaching staff.
During a speaking engagement in Decatur, Johnson spoke to WHNT about the kind of athletes he wants to recruit to make his scheme work.
"Eight years ago, we were playing more and more nickel defense against some spread teams because they had three or four wide-outs on the field, and after a season or two of it, we realized we were playing 60% of our snaps with that personnel," said Ellis Johnson, Auburn defensive coordinator. "So we tried to identify a player who could not only be a nickelback but can also be physical enough to play on first and second downs, so he's that's fifth guy in the 4-2-5, he's that third safety."