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Johnson takes on bigger role


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Johnson takes on bigger role at edge position in Auburn defense

ByJason Caldwell
4-5 minutes


2 Minute Drill: Dog day for Auburn vs. Georgia


AUBURN, Alabama—Just a few weeks ago the edge position in Auburn’s defense looked to be a team strength with the emergence of senior T.D. Moultry and the addition of Northwestern transfer Eku Leota to go along with Derick Hall and speedster Romello Height. All of the sudden things look much different for the Tigers and Coach Bert Watts with Moultry missing the last two games and potentially done because of compliance issues.

That means more playing time for 6-3, 276 Caleb Johnson, who has the size to make an impact this week when Auburn takes on a physical Arkansas offense that is coming off a 51-point, 39 first down, 676 yard performance in a one-point loss to Ole Miss.

All those guys can be contributors and should be,” Harsin said of the edge position. “At the end of the day, Eku was out there playing on the edge as well. We’ve got other guys. Derick’s playing hard on the edge. That’s a key position for us, one that we have to keep building, which is going to be a key ingredient for our defense now and in the future. There’s opportunities for them to step up on the edge and make plays.”

Battling an injury early in the season, Johnson has come back the last two games and has been on the field more and more for the Auburn defense. Playing a season-high 25 snaps against Georgia, Johnson’s physical nature off the edge showed up against the Bulldogs and will be important again this week if he’s asked to play that much again. It all starts with how he and the others do this week in preparation.

“That has to happen in practice,” Harsin said of earning more time. “So a lot of those things that we do in practice are going to show up in games. A lot of those players that practice really hard and do things right are going to show up in the game. And that’s an area that teams that we face that will run the football _ and these teams that we play will run the football _ you’ve got to have a guy that can set an edge. You’ve got to have a guy that’s dynamic and can do some other things on that edge.”

That’s important with big quarterback K.J. Jefferson leading an attack that piled up 245 rushing yards against Rice, 333 against Texas, 269 against Georgia Southern, 197 against Texas A&M and 350 last week in the loss to Ole Miss. Only Georgia has been able to limit the Razorbacks, holding them to 75 yards rushing two weeks ago.

Looking to bounce back this week, Auburn needs the front to play well and try to put the game in the hands of Jefferson and the passing attack for the Razorbacks. Harsin said that’s something that begins with putting in the work necessary to be ready when your name is called.

“We’re still improving and getting better at some things at that position in particular, but those guys can play,” he said. “If they have good weeks and stay focused, do the things they’re asked to do _ coach Watts does a really good job with that group. And when those guys are on it and taking care of their business, we usually have a pretty good performance by them on game day and expect that we have this week, especially against a team like Arkansas that’s again another physical team that wants to run and can run and plays hard. We’ve got to have a guy that can set the edge and help the front seven on the defensive side from that position.”

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25 minutes ago, JDUBB4AU said:



First pic ever posted on this board. Been here for years and finally figured it out. You tools are about to get it lol


  • Haha 2
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