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Defensive Pass rush

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Gus Malzahn believes 2 true freshmen could help with Auburn's pass rush this season

Updated on June 18, 2017 at 8:03 AM Posted on June 18, 2017 at 8:00 AM

3-4 minutes

After losing its top two pass-rushers from last season, Auburn believes a pair of true freshmen can step in and help fill that void this fall.

With the departure of both Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams to the NFL, Auburn's defense has a need to fill when it comes to pressuring the quarterback. Those two combined for 13.5 sacks and 39 quarterback hurries in 2016, and while Auburn has a wealth of returning depth up front to help replace that production, it will also look to freshmen Markaviest Bryant and T.D. Moultry to help with its pass rush in 2017.

"When we recruited those guys, we thought both those guys have the potential to be really good pass-rushers," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said earlier this month on Lake Martin. "So, that's one of the things early in fall camp that I know the defensive coaches will put them in those situations and see if they're ready."

The Tigers return the likes of Jeff Holland, Marlon Davidson, Paul James III and Nick Coe, all of whom are expected to prevent the pass rush from taking a step back this season. However, as Malzahn said, the coaching staff will try to see if Bryant and Moultry are ready to make an early impact and find ways to get them on the field in pass-rushing scenarios this fall.

Bryant was Auburn's biggest win on National Signing Day, when the Tigers secured a commitment from the four-star prospect out of Cordele, Ga. The 6-foot-5, 224-pounder is a true Buck, and he is expected to come in and provide depth at the position alongside Holland and James.

He arrived on campus this summer, and despite sustaining a hand injury last month, he has not been limited in summer workouts, according to Malzahn.

Moultry, meanwhile, was Auburn's highest-rated linebacker signee this spring, and linebackers coach Travis Williams is excited about what the former four-star, U.S. Army All-American will bring to the fold.

Moultry could fill role left behind by Lawson

"He can play," Williams told AL.com last month in Griffin, Ga. "He's everything you're looking for. He runs, he's big, he's fast, explosive. He likes football. He's a smart linebacker. He has it all to be as good as he wants to be."

The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder will start out at the Money linebacker position on the strong side of the defense, but Williams said Moultry will also be used as a pass-rusher on obvious passing downs. His skillset and flexibility gives Auburn some flexibility when it comes to how defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, Williams and defensive line coach Rodney Garner utilize him.

"With (defensive line) coach (Rodney) Garner, he's done a really good job with young guys," Malzahn said. "He plays young guys if they're talented enough to do that. Coach Steele is really good at finding ways to let young guys play and be specific on the things that their strengths are."

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1 hour ago, aubiefifty said:

Markaviest Bryant?

Someone help me out here. I don't see MB helping out this year. Kid only weighs 220lbs. 

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3 minutes ago, WarDamnEagleWDE said:

Someone help me out here. I don't see MB helping out this year. Kid only weighs 220lbs. 

That's what I was thinking also.  I think Peters might get some play at safety, but MB needs to add another 20-30 lbs.

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6 minutes ago, WarDamnEagleWDE said:

Someone help me out here. I don't see MB helping out this year. Kid only weighs 220lbs. 

Not saying Bryant is Keys but he began at LSU weighing that & did quite well his Freshman year.

Edited by ellitor
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3 minutes ago, bigbird said:

That's what I was thinking also.  I think Peters might get some play at safety, but MB needs to add another 20-30 lbs.

And that 20-30lbs needs to be muscle. 

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3 minutes ago, ellitor said:

Not saying Bryant is Keys but he began at LSU weighing that & did quite well his Freshman year.

I hope the kid balls out. Just don't see it happening. Hope I'm wrong. We dang sure need some kids who can get after the QB. 

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4 minutes ago, WarDamnEagleWDE said:

I hope the kid balls out. Just don't see it happening. Hope I'm wrong. We dang sure need some kids who can get after the QB. 

I don't either. Was just pointing out it's possible.

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3 hours ago, ellitor said:

Not saying Bryant is Keys but he began at LSU weighing that & did quite well his Freshman year.

I was thinking that as well

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3 hours ago, ellitor said:

I don't either. Was just pointing out it's possible.

With the depth we have on the line this year, if MB can contribute 2-3 sacks and 7-8ish hurries in situational pass rushes (which I think is within the realm of possibility), I'd call that a success. He doesn't have to be THE guy but I think he can contribute. 

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8 hours ago, WarEagleSteve said:

With the depth we have on the line this year, if MB can contribute 2-3 sacks and 7-8ish hurries in situational pass rushes (which I think is within the realm of possibility), I'd call that a success. He doesn't have to be THE guy but I think he can contribute. 

DE depth might be ok if everyone stays healthy, but I'm more concerned about the DT spot which I haven't seen much discussion about. We lost one starter in Adams and two key rotational guys in Lawrence and Swain. I haven't heard any indications that the incoming freshmen DTs will be ready to contribute. So that leaves two true DTs in Russell and Brown, backed up by two (relatively inexperienced) tweeners in Williams and Cowart. Unfortunately, Brown can't play every snap... I wish they'd move one of the 17 backup offensive guards to bolster depth at DT. I know we'll have some 3-man fronts which lessens the number of DT snaps overall, but I still think the position is a little thin with the departure of A. Jackson.

Edited by Sani-Freeze

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29 minutes ago, Sani-Freeze said:

DE depth might be ok if everyone stays healthy, but I'm more concerned about the DT spot which I haven't seen much discussion about. We lost one starter in Adams and two key rotational guys in Lawrence and Swain. I haven't heard any indications that the incoming freshmen DTs will be ready to contribute. So that leaves two true DTs in Russell and Brown, backed up by two tweeners in Williams and Cowart. Unfortunately Brown can't play every snap... I wish they'd move one of the 17 backup offensive guards to bolster depth at DT. I know we'll have some 3-man fronts which lessens the number of DT snaps overall but I still think the position is a little thin with the departure of A. Jackson.

I've heard rumblings that Cowart is ready to live up to expectations, this year.

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2 hours ago, lionheartkc said:

I've heard rumblings that Cowart is ready to live up to expectations, this year.

I hope so, but at 283 he is still an under-sized DT. 

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12 hours ago, ellitor said:

I don't either. Was just pointing out it's possible.

 

13 hours ago, WarDamnEagleWDE said:

Someone help me out here. I don't see MB helping out this year. Kid only weighs 220lbs. 

As a buck and in on our rabbits package like Holland last year On third down I can see him doing great things! MBryant that is! Which I believe is the plan starting out!

Edited by toddc

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19 hours ago, WarDamnEagleWDE said:

Someone help me out here. I don't see MB helping out this year. Kid only weighs 220lbs. 

Arden key comes to mind here. He was and is super light playing great ball as a d-end 

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21 hours ago, bigbird said:

That's what I was thinking also.  I think Peters might get some play at safety, but MB needs to add another 20-30 lbs.

How long are his arms?  During the NFL draft all we heard was that is the most important characteristic for a rush DE. 

If he's a TRex, forget it. His career is done. 

But if he has arms like an Orangutan, he will be all-SEC freshman year!

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In all seriousness, going into the season my 2 biggest concerns are the OL gelling into a top shelf unit and getting a dangerous pass rush from our front 4. If those 2 things happen.....Watch Out!

If one player from our secondary gets injured I will have a new #1 concern. 

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13 hours ago, Sani-Freeze said:

DE depth might be ok if everyone stays healthy, but I'm more concerned about the DT spot which I haven't seen much discussion about. We lost one starter in Adams and two key rotational guys in Lawrence and Swain. I haven't heard any indications that the incoming freshmen DTs will be ready to contribute. So that leaves two true DTs in Russell and Brown, backed up by two (relatively inexperienced) tweeners in Williams and Cowart. Unfortunately, Brown can't play every snap... I wish they'd move one of the 17 backup offensive guards to bolster depth at DT. I know we'll have some 3-man fronts which lessens the number of DT snaps overall, but I still think the position is a little thin with the departure of A. Jackson.

I don't know if I would call Williams inexperienced.  He was out there a lot last year, and became one of the best DT's we had last year.  Swain tailed off at the end of the year where he barely played, so he won't be missed as much.  Lawrence had motivation issues from my understanding which is why he didn't play some games entirely.  I do agree however we need at least one third stringer that needs to be ready to dive into the lineup if one DT goes down to keep up with the 10 man rotation RG likes.

Edited by abw0004

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Bryant can easily help out in the PR area even at that weight. Use him in for sure passing situations and be another body to throw at the QB. It'll be interesting to see how Steele tries to generate pressure. Will it be more LBs playing a standup DE position to give us pressure or will the true DE types like James, Coe, and Davidson that will provide us that pressure? I think Davidson and James can provide a rush but i don't think that is there specialty. So to have someone to scare the QB on the end we'll need unproven players like Coe and Bryant to step up or get the pressure from LB types

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News re: a returner,

‘…Davidson has more sacks and tackles for loss to his name than any other lineman on Auburn’s 2017 roster. He’s expected to be a leader up front after breaking out as a potential star with his high-energy style in 2016.

“With Carl Lawson gone this fall, Davidson will need to quickly transition from D-line prodigy into an All-SEC caliber force,” [SI’s] Becht wrote. “

[insertion mine]

https://www.seccountry.com/auburn/auburn-football-marlon-davidson-top-100-players-sports-illustrated

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I hope he plays. I personally think that's one thing we've been missing in player development. We can build on a confident guy's confidence. When he develops all the tools, he'll be a much better player.  

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On 6/19/2017 at 9:02 AM, ellitor said:

Not saying Bryant is Keys but he began at LSU weighing that & did quite well his Freshman year.

E I was going to say the same thing. They are very similar.

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3 hours ago, austudnt23 said:

E I was going to say the same thing. They are very similar.

This. Key was very disruptive 

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