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What we know, don’t know about Auburn’s defensive line | Football

Josh Vitale | AU Writer Follow on Twitter Like on Facebook

5-7 minutes

Auburn’s offense returns a lot of production from last season. A 3,000-yard passer in Jarrett Stidham, an 84-catch wide receiver in Ryan Davis and three offensive linemen who started at least six games last season, just to name a few.

The Tigers’ defense, though, returns even more players from a group that ranked 14th nationally in total defense and 11th in scoring, surrendering fewer than 19 points per game.

Nowhere on that defense is that strength more exemplified than up front, where Auburn will feature three multi-year starters and an impressive amount of depth behind them.

Here’s a look at what we know and don’t know about the Tigers’ vaunted defensive line:

THE LINEUP

Dontavius Russell (Sr.), Andrew Williams (Sr.), Marlon Davidson (Jr.), Derrick Brown (Jr.), Nick Coe (So.), T.D. Moultry (So.), Big Kat Bryant (So.), Tyrone Truesdell (So.), Daquan Newkirk (So.), Alec Jackson (R-Fr.), Richard Jibunor (Fr.), Caleb Johnson (Fr.), Kaoyde Oladele (Fr.), Coynis Miller (Fr.)

WHAT WE KNOW

What we know is that the right ¾ of Auburn’s defensive line — two defensive tackles and a defensive end — has the potential to be as dominant as any other group in the country. Brown is entering his second year as a starter, Davidson his third and Russell his fourth. Coe didn’t start a game last season and might not this year, but the SEC All-Freshman team selection and A-Day MVP is a physically imposing backup at defensive tackle, defensive end and even buck.

Combined, those four players racked up 174 tackles, 26 ½ tackles for loss, 12 sacks and four forced fumbles last season. They did so as anchors for a run defense that ranked 29th nationally allowing just 3.63 yards per carry.

The expectations for those players have risen, too: Asked what he was looking for from his returning starters, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele simply said “more.”

Clemson is widely believed to have the best defensive line in the country after returning four standouts in Clelin Farrell, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Austin Bryant, but Brown, Davidson, Russell and Coe should have Auburn not far behind.

“We do have one of the best defensive lines in college football,” head coach Gus Malzahn said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

What we don’t know yet is how well Moultry and Bryant will be able to make up for the loss of Jeff Holland, who accounted for 27 percent of Auburn’s sacks (10), 33.8 percent of its quarterback hurries (22) and 28.5 percent of its forced fumbles (four) from the buck position as a junior before entering the NFL Draft.

Holland, though, was once a little-impact backup waiting his turn behind Carl Lawson. When Lawson left early following a standout 2016 season, Holland ascended to the starting role and ran with it. The hope is that Moultry and Bryant can make a similar leap in their second seasons at Auburn.

Moultry, a converted former four-star inside linebacker, wowed coaches with his pass-rush ability as soon as he arrived on campus last year and quickly became Holland’s primary backup. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Birmingham native came on strong late in the season and finished his debut campaign with 15 tackles, 2 ½ tackles for loss and 1 ½ sacks.

Bryant came in as a buck but spent his freshman season playing both that spot and defensive end behind Davidson. He finished the season with just five tackles to go along with 2 ½ tackles for loss and two sacks as a reserve, but he added bulk to his 6-foot-5, 253-pound frame during the offseason and was among the most talked-about players on the Tigers’ defense this spring.

“If you wait for Carl Lawson, to replace him when he graduates, you’re a little bit far behind. Somebody else will probably coach them,” Steele said during the spring. “T.D. has a tremendous skill set and can affect others, on his side of the ball and the other side of the ball. And then Big Kat, probably the last two days, has really made a — his ascension has been rapid over the last two days. The light switch came on.”

THEY SAID IT

“This is Auburn University. We’re in the SEC. You’re big, you’re strong, you’re fast, you’re developed, you’re getting toward the end of your career here. You should be better. Now, it’s a team game, so they can only play one gap. But we have good depth in the defensive line, there’s good competition there, so hopefully they feel like they should be better. That’s just the way we’re built. We’re trying to improve every day. I told somebody the other day, this is not a ‘try’ league. This is a ‘do’ league.” — Kevin Steele

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3 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

Kaoyde Oladele (Fr.),

We can take him out of there now apparently... 

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17 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

now.com

What we know, don’t know about Auburn’s defensive line | Football

Josh Vitale | AU Writer Follow on Twitter Like on Facebook

5-7 minutes

Auburn’s offense returns a lot of production from last season. A 3,000-yard passer in Jarrett Stidham, an 84-catch wide receiver in Ryan Davis and three offensive linemen who started at least six games last season, just to name a few.

The Tigers’ defense, though, returns even more players from a group that ranked 14th nationally in total defense and 11th in scoring, surrendering fewer than 19 points per game.

Nowhere on that defense is that strength more exemplified than up front, where Auburn will feature three multi-year starters and an impressive amount of depth behind them.

Here’s a look at what we know and don’t know about the Tigers’ vaunted defensive line:

THE LINEUP

Dontavius Russell (Sr.), Andrew Williams (Sr.), Marlon Davidson (Jr.), Derrick Brown (Jr.), Nick Coe (So.), T.D. Moultry (So.), Big Kat Bryant (So.), Tyrone Truesdell (So.), Daquan Newkirk (So.), Alec Jackson (R-Fr.), Richard Jibunor (Fr.), Caleb Johnson (Fr.), Kaoyde Oladele (Fr.), Coynis Miller (Fr.)

WHAT WE KNOW

What we know is that the right ¾ of Auburn’s defensive line — two defensive tackles and a defensive end — has the potential to be as dominant as any other group in the country. Brown is entering his second year as a starter, Davidson his third and Russell his fourth. Coe didn’t start a game last season and might not this year, but the SEC All-Freshman team selection and A-Day MVP is a physically imposing backup at defensive tackle, defensive end and even buck.

Combined, those four players racked up 174 tackles, 26 ½ tackles for loss, 12 sacks and four forced fumbles last season. They did so as anchors for a run defense that ranked 29th nationally allowing just 3.63 yards per carry.

The expectations for those players have risen, too: Asked what he was looking for from his returning starters, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele simply said “more.”

Clemson is widely believed to have the best defensive line in the country after returning four standouts in Clelin Farrell, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Austin Bryant, but Brown, Davidson, Russell and Coe should have Auburn not far behind.

“We do have one of the best defensive lines in college football,” head coach Gus Malzahn said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

What we don’t know yet is how well Moultry and Bryant will be able to make up for the loss of Jeff Holland, who accounted for 27 percent of Auburn’s sacks (10), 33.8 percent of its quarterback hurries (22) and 28.5 percent of its forced fumbles (four) from the buck position as a junior before entering the NFL Draft.

Holland, though, was once a little-impact backup waiting his turn behind Carl Lawson. When Lawson left early following a standout 2016 season, Holland ascended to the starting role and ran with it. The hope is that Moultry and Bryant can make a similar leap in their second seasons at Auburn.

Moultry, a converted former four-star inside linebacker, wowed coaches with his pass-rush ability as soon as he arrived on campus last year and quickly became Holland’s primary backup. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Birmingham native came on strong late in the season and finished his debut campaign with 15 tackles, 2 ½ tackles for loss and 1 ½ sacks.

Bryant came in as a buck but spent his freshman season playing both that spot and defensive end behind Davidson. He finished the season with just five tackles to go along with 2 ½ tackles for loss and two sacks as a reserve, but he added bulk to his 6-foot-5, 253-pound frame during the offseason and was among the most talked-about players on the Tigers’ defense this spring.

“If you wait for Carl Lawson, to replace him when he graduates, you’re a little bit far behind. Somebody else will probably coach them,” Steele said during the spring. “T.D. has a tremendous skill set and can affect others, on his side of the ball and the other side of the ball. And then Big Kat, probably the last two days, has really made a — his ascension has been rapid over the last two days. The light switch came on.”

THEY SAID IT

“This is Auburn University. We’re in the SEC. You’re big, you’re strong, you’re fast, you’re developed, you’re getting toward the end of your career here. You should be better. Now, it’s a team game, so they can only play one gap. But we have good depth in the defensive line, there’s good competition there, so hopefully they feel like they should be better. That’s just the way we’re built. We’re trying to improve every day. I told somebody the other day, this is not a ‘try’ league. This is a ‘do’ league.” — Kevin Steele

“Men of Steele” Or “The Steele Curtain “ , or “The Great Wall of Steele”!!! Take your pick and hold on baby!

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57 minutes ago, toddc said:

“Men of Steele” Or “The Steele Curtain “ , or “The Great Wall of Steele”!!! Take your pick and hold on baby!

Much as I love what he's doin' up front,

also wouldn't mind a Steele or two every once'd in a while.

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5 minutes ago, AUld fAUx@ said:

Much as I love what he's doin' up front,

also wouldn't mind a Steele or two every once'd in a while.

Good news:

Quote

Woodson came to Auburn from Memphis, where he was defensive backs coach from 2015-16. During his two years there, the Tigers won 18 games and made two bowl appearances, forcing 60 turnovers, the second best total in the nation, including 32 interceptions. In 2017, freshman defensive back T.J. Carter was named to the ESPN.com and USA Today Freshman All-America teams and was the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year after setting a Memphis freshman record with five interceptions.

 

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9 minutes ago, McLoofus said:

Good news:

 

All kind'a cool, and flew in under my RADAR. Many Thanks.

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Dontavius Russell is quietly one of the best DL ever for Auburn imo. Did his job soooo nicely for sooo many snaps!!

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I can’t wait to see TD Moultry and Nick Coe out there. Nobody thought our D-line would be better without Lawson last year and it was. I think they can be even better this year again even without Holland. Rodney Gardner has done a helluva recruiting job 

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3 minutes ago, AuburnTiger4Life said:

I can’t wait to see TD Moultry and Nick Coe out there. Nobody thought our D-line would be better without Lawson last year and it was. I think they can be even better this year again even without Holland. Rodney Gardner has done a helluva recruiting job 

:cool:

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On 7/10/2018 at 1:01 PM, McLoofus said:

Good news:

 

Dean did say that he wants to get the season record for interceptions.... Don't think that happens because of the defense we run but we do need more picks.

Edited by WFE12
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This group has to come up big. Big questions on the O-line and safety. No other position on the team has the mix of talent and experience that the D-Line does. Really intrigued to see what Big Cat and Moultry look like this season.

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14 hours ago, CR said:

This group has to come up big. Big questions on the O-line and safety. No other position on the team has the mix of talent and experience that the D-Line does. Really intrigued to see what Big Cat and Moultry look like this season.

O-line is a question but I think we have enough talent there to be okay. I’m excited to see Smoke at safety 

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3 hours ago, AuburnTiger4Life said:

I’m excited to see Smoke at safety 

I expect him to be starting by the halfway point of the season...if not sooner.

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4 hours ago, bigbird said:

I expect him to be starting by the halfway point of the season...if not sooner.

giphy.gif

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17 hours ago, bigbird said:

I expect him to be starting by the halfway point of the season...if not sooner.

Enrolling early gives freshmen a huge advantage. He will definitely be in the mix, in my opinion. 

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The DL is going to be insane!  

Another thing that I love about this year’s D, is that there is a “defensive QB” at every level.  DR on the DL, DD at LB, and Dinson at DB (I just realized that all 3 of our experienced DBs have the same initials).  That experience and leadership is going to go along way!

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Our DL just might be our OL's best friend this year. Steele has been the answer to my prayers. Not too long ago we had the O but not the D. Maybe we can have both before the year is out.

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I hope coach Steele's defense is a lot better then what we saw when we played and lost to LSU, Georgia and UCF.

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9 minutes ago, auburn4ever said:

I hope coach Steele's defense is a lot better then what we saw when we played and lost to LSU, Georgia and UCF.

I hope our offense is a lot better then what we saw when we played and lost to LSU, Georgia and UCF.

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1 hour ago, WarDamnEagleWDE said:

How many games will Steele and this D-Line cost us this year? Cost us 4 games last year. :rollin:

Absolutely.

It's the D's full responsibility to hold the opponent to zero when Gus tells Chip to go "Turtle Shell Offense".

Isn't that what they go over in the defensive meetings and practice?

Steele is DEFINITELY on the hot seat.  Afterall, his agent didn't get him a $49M contract so he's expendable.

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2 hours ago, auburn4ever said:

I hope coach Steele's defense is a lot better then what we saw when we played and lost to LSU, Georgia and UCF.

 

1 hour ago, bigbird said:

I hope our offense is a lot better then what we saw when we played and lost to LSU, Georgia and UCF.

Don't forget the Clemson game where the Defense gave up 11 sacks and the Defense only gained 117 total yards.....uh....er....

Edited by AUsince72

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