So about that slow start problem on defense... After struggling some in the first four weeks to get off the field on the opening drive, Auburn’s defense forced two 3 & outs Saturday night. When they took the field for a 3rd time the score was already 21-0. We should do that more often.
Auburn’s blowout victory over Mississippi State allowed Kevin Steele to get a lot of different guys snaps Saturday night. I thought a few youngsters shined in their limited work but any time you can empty the bench against an SEC West opponent it was probably a good night.
As always, there’s the caveat to not take these numbers as gospel. That’s especially true after discovering I might have borked last week’s numbers due to some spreadsheet dumbness... Have no fear though because this week I am at least sure the tallies are correct! Whether or not the number I actually entered in is correct is debatable but whatever. You will get what you get and YOU WILL LIKE IT!
(Sorry a little fired up, it’s Florida week)
- #1 Big Kat Bryant - 35 snaps
- #5 Derrick Brown - 34 snaps
- #94 Tyrone Truesdell - 31 snaps
- #3 Marlon Davidson - 30 snaps
- #91 Nick Coe - 25 snaps
- #45 Caleb Johnson - 18 snaps
- #96 Jaren Handy - 15 snaps
- #55 T.D. Moultry - 14 snaps
- #25 Colby Wooden - 14 snaps
- #44 Daquan Newkirk - 13 snaps
- #8 Coynis Miller - 13 snaps
- #97 Gary Walker - 10 snaps
- #63 Peyton Nance - 8 snaps
As always, Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson were fantastic. While they don’t always load the stat sheet up with gaudy totals, there is no denying their impact. Brown especially was a handful for the Bulldogs most of the night. Heres’ a great example of him recording 0 stats but making an insane play.
A 6’5” 300+ lb human being should not be that quick.
However, it was some of the rotational pieces that made me most excited. I thought Daquan Newkirk, Coynis Miller and Caleb Johnson all had great games against Mississippi State. It was especially encouraging to see Miller play well considering his rocky start to 2019. He flashed some of that power we have been waiting to see.
Kylin Hill didn’t break 50 yards rushing Saturday night and his longest run was 13 yards. A big reason why was Auburn’s ability to clog the run lanes up front and force Hill to consistently try to bounce outside. Unfortunately for him, K.J. Britt and company were often waiting. It was a redemptive performance for this defense, specifically this front 4, after last year’s debacle. Each week they continue to show why many consider them to be the best DL in college football.
- #31 Chandler Wooten - 29 snaps
- #10 Owen Pappoe - 25 snaps
- #35 Zakoby McClain - 25 snaps
- #33 K.J. Britt - 24 snaps
- #30 Michael Harris - 14 snaps
- #27 Tanner Dean - 8 snaps
I tweeted the week prior that K.J. Britt had a chance to have a big game Saturday night and big game he had indeed. The junior had 5 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss and a sack. He only played 24 snaps but he made quite the impact in his limited work.
One of the biggest moments of the night though came from Auburn’s freshman linebacker Owen Pappoe. Mississippi State picked on him a bit with some of their RPOs and you can tell it had the youngster’s head spinning but he came through with a HUGE play late in the 2nd quarter punching the ball out of Garrett Shrader’s hands at the 5 yard line. Jeremiah Dinson recovered it and Auburn was able to march down the field and put a 6th TD on the board before the end of the half
I thought it was really interesting to see Michael Harris check into the game midway through the 3rd quarter when Auburn still had a number of starters still playing. Travis Williams did that often with K.J. Britt and Chandler Wooten the past two seasons so it shows that he’s one of those guys being groomed to be up next. I thought he acquitted himself well but still has a ways to go before he can crack the rotation. But it’s those type of snaps that helped prepare Britt and Wooten to be ready for this season. Hopefully it will be the same for Harris when his time comes.
- #4 Noah Igbinoghene - 47 snaps
- #23 Roger McCreary - 42 snaps
- #20 Jeremiah Dinson - 37 snaps
- #6 Christian Tutt - 32 snaps
- #24 Daniel Thomas - 30 snaps
- #9 Jamien Sherwood - 28 snaps
- #21 Smoke Monday - 24 snaps
- #13 Javaris Davis - 22 snaps
- #18 Nehemiah Pritchett - 18 snaps
- #15 Jordyn Peters - 18 snaps
- #11 Zion Puckett - 8 snaps
- #12 Devan Barrett - 8 snaps
- #16 Malcolm Askew - 8 snaps
- #26 Jaylin Simpson - 8 snaps
Auburn’s secondary continues to excel as tacklers in the open field. Kevin Steele puts the backend of this defense in a lot of situations where a missed tackle could prove disastrous and these guys continue to come through. Auburn will need more of that this week against the Gators who have a very talented receiving corps.
Dinson continued his monster senior campaign earning his 2nd sack of the year on Mississippi State’s first possession. Kylin Hill wanted no part of Dinson on this play.
However, I do think Auburn’s secondary got away with some busts Saturday night due to the inaccuracy of Mississippi State’s young QB. There were some shots available that he didn’t hit. The Tigers will need to get that cleaned up fast with some of the offenses lurking still on this schedule.