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Snap Tracker: Defense vs Oregon

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A look at Auburn’s personnel usage on the defensive side of the ball Saturday night.

NCAA Football: Advocare Classic-Auburn vs Oregon Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

So I am trying something new this year. I always find personnel usage an interesting strategy to track each week especially on the defensive side of the ball. I am going to do my best this season to each week provide updates on who played where and when. I make no promises that these numbers are perfectly accurate but they should at least provide an overall picture of how much a player played each week.

I should note my numbers came out to 71 snaps while the official count for offensive plays for Oregon was 70. That’s because my numbers include the one play wiped out by an illegal (and cheap) blind side block.

Let’s take a look at the numbers for the defense.

Defensive Line

Oregon v Auburn Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
  • #5 Derrick Brown - 61 snaps
  • #1 Big Kat Bryant - 60 snaps
  • #3 Marlon Davidson - 60 snaps
  • #91 Nick Coe - 40 snaps
  • #94 Tyrone Truesdell - 35 snaps
  • #8 Coynis Miller - 12 snaps
  • #29 Derick Hall - 8 snaps
  • #44 Daquan Newkirk - 7 snaps
  • #55 T.D. Moultry - 3 snaps

I thought there were a quite a few notes of interest when examining Auburn’s defensive line rotation, first being the lack of T.D. Moultry. After a disappointing sophomore campaign, it appeared the former top 100 recruit might be poised to take the next step in 2019 but instead only played 3 snaps against the Ducks. It sounds though like it might be injury related as Gus Malzahn said yesterday he’s battling an ankle issue. It will be interesting to see if he gets more action in the coming weeks.

Second would be the almost even snap distribution between Tyrone Truesdell and Nick Coe. Coe got a lot of work early but struggled as a run defender in the interior. Truesdell wasn’t great in the first quarter either but seemed to get stronger as the day went on culminating in his destruction of one of the best interior offensive lineman on that crucial 4th and 1 stop.

Rodney Garner signed an outstanding defensive line class in the 2019 cycle so I was not surprised to see one from that group break into the rotation week 1. I was shocked though which player it ended up being. Derick Hall is a freak athlete but it was thought he would need a year in the weight room before being up to the task of playing on the edge in the SEC. But it appears early enrollment and time with Ryan Russell this summer did him some good and with Moultry for all intents and purposes out for the game, Hall had his number called as Auburn’s #2 Buck behind Big Kat. He didn’t play a ton of snaps but earning any as a true freshman in week 1 on this defensive line is quite the statement.

Finally, the biggest shocker to me was seeing Daquan Newkirk on the field. When Gus Malzahn says “we hope to have that guy back before the end of the season” you pretty much assume the year is lost for that player. Not the case for Newkirk who had apparently recovered enough from his 2nd achilles injury to see time Saturday night. That’s a huge development for the Tigers. If he and Coynis Miller can develop into a reliable #2 unit in the interior that would do wonders for this defense later in the season.

Linebacker

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 AdvoCare Classic - Oregon v Auburn Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • #33 K.J. Britt - 56 snaps
  • #10 Owen Pappoe - 45 snaps
  • #31 Chandler Wooten - 20 snaps
  • #35 Zakoby McClain - 14 snaps

The buzz all spring and summer was that despite Auburn losing all their starters there would not be a significant drop off at the linebacker position for the Tigers in 2019. I think most fans were cautiously optimistic that would be the case given the outstanding job Travis Williams has done recruiting elite talent. But talent on paper is one thing, production on Saturday is another.

Well this group more than lived up to the hype. Yes there were some poor run fits and misalignments, especially in the first quarter, but overall this group played at an extremely high level. KJ Britt delivered some hits I haven’t seen since Tray Blackmon roamed Auburn’s 2nd level.

I expected Owen Pappoe to play a bunch but I was surprised to see him get the 2nd most snaps in this group and to see vastly more snaps than sophomore Zakoby McClain. But watching him play Saturday night it was easy to understand. He and Britt were Auburn’s go to linebacker duo. He also saw most of the snaps as Auburn’s Dime backer when the Tigers put 6 DBs on the field and only have one linebacker. Give his freaky athleticism, it makes a lot of sense and he looked really good doing it Saturday night.

Secondary

Oregon v Auburn Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
  • #4 Noah Igbinoghene - 71 snaps
  • #24 Daniel Thomas - 65 snaps
  • #20 Jeremiah Dinson - 64 snaps
  • #6 Christian Tutt - 48 snaps
  • #13 Javaris Davis - 46 snaps
  • #23 Roger McCreary - 42 snaps
  • #21 Smoke Monday - 15 snaps
  • #9 Jermaine Sherwood - 10 snaps

Unless I missed it (quite possible) Noah Igbinoghene didn’t miss a snap in Saturday night’s game. That’s wild when you think where he was just two years ago. He’s gone from a freshman WR with potential looking for a spot in the rotation to Auburn’s top cornerback.

But the star of Auburn’s secondary this past weekend was redshirt senior Jeremiah Dinson. He has his own incredible story. It’s been a long road back to playing time after a cheap block that tore every ligament with an acronym in his knee stole two years of his career. At times last year, I thought he still looked a little limited athletically compared to the explosive freshman we saw in 2015. Not Saturday night. Dinson was everywhere collecting 13 tackles, 2.0 TFL and a sack earning SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

The coaching staff was not lying when they said they considered Roger McCreary a starter. He played almost the same amount of snaps as Javaris Davis and interestingly got more work at the corner position opposite of Iggy than Davis as the game wore on which allowed Davis to spell Tutt at the Star. Auburn has outstanding depth at the secondary that should get even better when Jordyn Peters is fully cleared to go.

War Eagle!