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Young DL is growing up

59035_Auburn_Practice_Football.jpg

The primary reason for the recent improvement of the Auburn defense is the play of Auburn's front-four. Losing Dee Ford was a step back but Corey Lemonier and Nosa Eguae have been solid in run defense as well as rushing the passer. Even LaDarius Owens has shown great potential for the future, especially as he adds more weight to his frame. The combination of Kenneth Carter and Jeffrey Whitaker at defensive tackle is beginning to shape up to be an imposing interior threat. They are playing with more confidence each week and are being to disrupt the opponent's backfield. Their numbers might not show it in terms of tackles and sacks but a defensive tackle can do his job on a consistent basis without registering a tackle.

The play...

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On this play, Arkansas attempts to run their stretch run play to their right. The Razorbacks have a bunch formation to the right side with the intent of overloading that side in terms of numbers. Carter shoots through the "A" gap right at the snap as the Arkansas center intends to engage the Jake Holland. Carter explodes off the ball so quickly, he is actually in the backfield before the QB hands off to the RB.

Carter forces the RB to cut the play back inside but Jeffrey Whitaker beats his man inside and is in position to swallow up the RB just as he makes his cut. Jonathan Evans comes on a run blitz next to Whitaker, which helped free up Whitaker to knife through the line. Whitaker bear hugs the RB until additional run support arrives to throw the RB for a loss. Note in frame #2 how Lemonier maintains the back side in the event the QB fakes the hand off for a bootleg.

The above play is a prime example of a great play by Carter even though it won't show up on the stat sheet.

Except for the 92-yard run by the Razorbacks, Auburn held Arkansas to 84-yards rushing on their remaining 30 carries.

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