Auburn held Kent State to 321 yards of offense with only 92 of those yards coming on the ground and came away with 5 sacks. Yet it still felt like a somewhat disappointing performance given the Golden Flashes’ success on 3rd downs and the 16 points. That’s how far things have come under Kevin Steele. The bar has been raised.
Most importantly though Auburn got a chance to get some young bucks a chance to get some snaps under their belt. Auburn rotated early and often Saturday night eventually inserting a number of walk ons and true freshmen for their first action of the season.
Weekly reminder that these numbers are far from perfect. Broadcast angle makes it especially difficult at times to track who is in at safety but these numbers should at least give a general picture of who saw the most action each week.
- #3 Marlon Davidson - 35 snaps
- #1 Big Kat Bryant - 34 snaps
- #94 Tyrone Truesdell - 29 snaps
- #91 Nick Coe - 27 snaps
- #97 Gary Walker - 22 snaps
- #29 Derick Hall - 19 snaps
- #96 Jaren Handy - 13 snaps
- #44 Daquan Newkirk - 11 snaps
- #25 Colby Wooden - 10 snaps
- #45 Caleb Johnson - 8 snaps
- #63 Peyton Nance - 6 snaps
- #5 Derrick Brown - 5 snaps
- #8 Coynis Miller - 5 snaps
- #42 Jacob VonEschenbach - 3 snaps
- #95 Reece Mullins - 3 snaps
- #98 Trent Townsend - 3 snaps
Unsurprisingly, the list this week is MUCH longer. Auburn rotated 9 defensive lineman in the first half and then emptied the bench late in the 3rd quarter. Marlon Davidson earned SEC DL of the Week honors once again thanks to his 6 tackle, 2.5 TFL and 2.5 sack performance against Kent State Saturday night.
Derrick Brown exited the game after suffering some sort of upper body injury on the first drive. Newkirk took his snaps early on but it was actually Gary Walker that saw the most work on the interior following Brown’s departure. I am not sure if that’s because they plan on him being a bigger piece moving forward or if it was to let the senior get some work against an inferior opponent. Definitely something to watch in the coming weeks.
There are two notable names not on this list. T.D. Moultry did not see the field this past Saturday as he continues to recover from an ankle injury that has bothered him since the start of the season. With Derick Hall going down, it’s even more important Moultry get healthy and start being productive off the edge.
The other missing name was former top 100 recruit Charles Moore. Handy got some work late but he was paired with Gary Walker, not his Magnolia State 2019 class mate. So it wasn’t a complete shock to me when earlier today it was reported by AuburnUndercover’s Mark Murphy that Moore is leaving the Plains.
Freshman defensive lineman leaves Auburn football team https://t.co/TgiPgOXgkQ via Mark Murphy— Auburn Undercover (@AUUndercover) September 17, 2019
I had high hopes for the young man but I don’t think he adjusted well to Garner’s coaching style. Puts even more emphasis on Auburn finishing this 2020 DL class strong. It would not surprise me to see Auburn bring in a grad transfer or mine the JUCOs for immediate impact help in 2020.
Final note on the defensive line. I though of the youngsters up front Handy stood out the most. He’s massive kid at 6’5” 260 lbs with outstanding athleticism. I fully expect him to grow into a defensive tackle and it honestly wouldn’t shock me if he found his way into the rotation by the end of the year. Even if that doesn’t happen he’s someone Auburn will be counting on to be a major contributor in 2020.
- #33 K.J. Britt - 27 snaps
- #10 Owen Pappoe - 20 snaps
- #31 Chandler Wooten - 19 snaps
- #35 Zakoby McClain - 15 snaps
- #36 Josh Marsh - 11 snaps
- #30 Michael Harris - 8 snaps
- #48 O.C. Brothers - 3 snaps
Not a ton to say about this group this week. I thought we saw more missed tackles from this unit than we have all season which is a bit of a concern but it was hard for them to make a major impact on this game given Kent State’s style. This weekend will be the biggest test thus far. I expect them to raise their level of play like we saw opening weekend against Oregon.
It was good to see Marsh, Harris and Brothers all get some snaps. I was high on Harris out of high school and continue to believe he can crack the rotation before his career is over. Marsh got the most work of the three which was interesting. Travis Williams is building some tremendous depth at Auburn’s 2nd level of the defense.
- #4 Noah Igbinoghene - 50 snaps
- #20 Jeremiah Dinson - 40 snaps
- #24 Daniel Thomas - 38 snaps
- #6 Christian Tutt - 38 snaps
- #23 Roger McCreary - 32 snaps
- #13 Javaris Davis - 31 snaps
- #21 Smoke Monday - 27 snaps
- #9 Jermain Sherwood - 21 snaps
- #18 Nehemiah Pritchett - 16 snaps
- #11 Zion Puckett - 13 snaps
- #12 Devan Barrett - 10 snaps
- #16 Malcolm Askew - 10 snaps
- #26 Jaylin Simpson - 6 snaps
- #28 Devin Guice - 3 snaps
Once again Iggy was the ironman of the group and Dinson was all over the field. Auburn ran a lot more Dime packages this past weekend (1 linebacker, 6 defensive backs) to counter Kent State’s quick hitting spread attack. That meant Smoke Monday got a lot more action with the first team up until he was called for targeting. Auburn hasn’t rotated a ton at safety so I don’t think the loss is huge but it will have an affect on Auburn’s Dime personnel. Sherwood comes in some but it’s clear that Monday has been the first choice as the Dime back in that set.
It was nice to see some youngsters out there specifically freshman Pritchett, Puckett and Simpson. Puckett worked at the Star (or Nickel), Pritchett at cornerback and Simpson at safety. I think all three have bright futures for the Tigers. Auburn doesn’t really need any of the three freshman to be ready this year given the experience and depth on the backend but next year the Tigers will lose three possibly four from this year’s secondary. 2020 will be a chance for this trio to break into the playing rotation.