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Did Moultry turn a corner against Florida?

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Did Auburn pass-rusher T.D. Moultry turn a corner against Florida?

Posted Oct 10, 9:54 AM

4 minutes

Auburn Football

AP

This was supposed to be T.D. Moultry’s year.

The junior edge-rusher, after taking a step back in 2018, was expected to be a true impact player at Buck along Auburn’s defensive line this season. That didn’t happen through the first five games of the season, as Moultry saw limited snaps thanks in part to an ankle injury and did not record a single tackle.

The 6-foot-2, 243-pounder finally got the first one out of the way during Auburn’s 24-13 loss to Florida last weekend, when he not only registered his first tackle of the season — but it was also a sack of Gators quarterback Kyle Trask.

“It meant a lot,” senior defensive end Marlon Davidson said. “T.D., he had two injuries to both ankles, actually, in the fall, but he’s back now and people see that T.D. Moultry can really do his thing. Like I seen (Saturday), man, he’s just out there having fun by himself, ‘I’m going to make this play, that play.’ He showed great, tremendous pass-rush skills (Saturday).”

Along with his sack of Trask — which resulted in a 3-yard loss for Florida in the third quarter — Moultry also recorded a quarterback hurry, which was his second of the season, with both coming in SEC play. Both of Moultry’s plays against Florida helped lead to forced punts by Auburn’s defense, as the team’s pass-rushing prowess turned it up a notch in the losing effort.

It was also a promising step in the development of Moultry, who many expected to compete for the starting job at Buck this offseason.

“I mean, definitely, T.D. got off the ball and was able to get back there and get a sack,” defensive tackle Derrick Brown said. “Just seeing him just continue to grow, that’s great.”

Defensive line coach Rodney Garner challenged Moultry in the offseason, and the two had “honest and frank conversations” about what was expected of him this season. The last thing either wanted was a repeat of 2018, when Moultry struggled in fall camp and saw it bleed into the season. He had a pair of costly penalties against Washington in the season opener and never really recovered until late in the season.

He finished last season with 11 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks in 13 games, which was a step back from his freshman campaign in 2017, when he totaled 15 tackles, with 2.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks.

Those numbers were expected to improve this season, with Moultry playing a larger role along the defensive line. Teammates saw him getting “back to the old T.D.” during fall camp, but he again got off to a slow start to the season. He saw limited action against Oregon in the opener and dealt with an ankle injury that slowed his progress and cut into his snaps over the first several games.

That changed against Florida, as Moultry looked more like the player he was expected to be coming out of high school, when he was a top-100 recruit nationally and a four-star prospect.

It was the type of effort that could jumpstart a bounce-back performance for Moultry during the second half of the season.

“I feel like T.D. is going to have a breakout year,” Davidson said. “I really do feel that.”

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verd

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I don't know that I have cheered so much for one player. I was more than stoked to see TD plant a QB tree seed in the swamp. I hope by end of year there will be several more seeds planted and other teams field crews have to cut down trees next year growing where QBs have been planted by TD Moultry. 

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5 hours ago, McLoofus said:

My man crush. I hope that was the start of something. The talent is there.

This!

We desperately need an added pass rush without blitzing. It’s been heading in the right direction.

Put Derrick Brown in a different number so refs call a daggum holding. 

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