Tonight was Kevin Steele's turn to face the media following Auburn's return to the practice fields. So, right off the bat, we shouldn't even have to say that there's no update on the QB situation. That will come from Gus Malzahn himself. He's supposed to meet with the media later this week, but he could name the starter at any time.*
Did anything special come out of Steele's time with the media? They're not focusing on Clemson, yet. That's understandable, since Clemson does run a similar offense to Auburn's. That works both ways, too, if you want to be a bit depressed. Marshall Taylor's contributions Week 1 will depend on Marshall Taylor. He singled out Dontavius Russell (who was pretty good as a redshirt freshman last season) and Josh Holsey (pronounced HOLE-zee; I've been saying HOLE-see for years!) as big parts of the defense so far. Paul James III, too.
I'm trying not to be too optimistic about this defense. Kevin Steele's history hasn't been the best as a DC, so maybe that should help. There's just so much talent and potential on it, though. I'm even starting to get excited about the linebackers and I have nothing to justify that other than blind confidence in Travis Williams (and Kevin Steele himself).
To the Tweets (and stick around for bonus commentary below)!
"Not a lot has changed." Those are Kevin Steele's opening words at his press conference today.— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) August 23, 2016
Steele says the defense hasn't been focusing on Clemson specifically yet, but working on simulating the different offenses in the SEC.— Sam Butler (@_sam_butler) August 23, 2016
Steele is asked how difficult it is to prepare for Deshaun Watson.— Sam Butler (@_sam_butler) August 23, 2016
"You knew the answer to that already, or you wouldn't have asked."
Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele on if Marshall Taylor can help the defense on Sept. 3: "I don't know." #MGMAuburn— Matthew Stevens (@matthewcstevens) August 23, 2016
Paul James III has "progressively gotten better each scrimmage."— Sam Butler (@_sam_butler) August 23, 2016
Steele on CB Marshall Taylor's role: "We need numbers back there." Said Jamel Dean's injury makes this a priority. #MGMAuburn— Matthew Stevens (@matthewcstevens) August 23, 2016
Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele says opening opponent Clemson is 'very similar to what our offense does,' so that's a plus in practice— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) August 23, 2016
Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele says DB Josh Holsey is 'old, experienced and very wise,' and that allows him to play multiple positions— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) August 23, 2016
Auburn DC Kevin Steele: Dontavius Russell is "a player," might be first time Steele smiled during press conference— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) August 23, 2016
Bonus Jeff Holland quotes!
I'm impressed by Holland, here. He admits his head wasn't in the game as much early on at Auburn. He was starting to be exciting by the end of the season, though, so if he's really turned it on, then he could be a great one. One of the offensive linemen (Golson, maybe?) did say a few weeks ago that Holland was the second best pass rusher behind Lawson (hence his comment on ranking, I bet).
Both Holland and Paul James III spoke highly of Carl Lawson. We've heard repeatedly over the last few years about how Carl Lawson studies every aspect of the game. He should go on to a great NFL career, but I'm thrilled at the prospect of what he'll be able to bring to the game as a coach one day, too, should he go that route.
Auburn DE Jeff Holland: Bowl practice very important, took them very seriously— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) August 23, 2016
Auburn DE Jeff Holland: "I can't rank myself" in terms of where he stands as one of team's top pass rushers— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) August 23, 2016
Auburn DE Jeff Holland: Carl Lawson studies the small things, blessed to have him as teammate— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) August 23, 2016
Jeff Holland on where he'd rank himself in the pass rush pecking order: "I'm just trying to be like Carl (Lawson)."— Sam Butler (@_sam_butler) August 23, 2016
Auburn DE Jeff Holland said he considers Carl Lawson a mentor on this team and has helped him improve. #MGMAuburn— Matthew Stevens (@matthewcstevens) August 24, 2016
Auburn DE Jeff Holland: "We want to be great" talking about him and Byron Cowart— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) August 24, 2016
Auburn DE Jeff Holland said he was told by his dad that he didn't take football seriously enough. "I had trouble understanding my plays."— Matthew Stevens (@matthewcstevens) August 24, 2016
Even more bonus: Paul James III Tweet!
Paul James III: "(Carl) wants us to be great. He's a student of the game, and he wants us to be a student of the game."— Sam Butler (@_sam_butler) August 24, 2016