AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn’s defensive players noticed a lot of good things during their Sunday film sessions, but they also realized they can handle more responsibility.
The Tigers allowed Texas A&M just 2 of 15 third-down conversions. Aggies quarterback Trevor Knight was limited, throwing just 1 touchdown. Instead of scoring touchdowns, A&M was forced to kick 5 field goals in the SEC opener at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Still, they hope to wreak more havoc. And they have a good idea of how they can.
“It is something that we’ve got to create more turnovers,” Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said. “Now, obviously, they’re not going to give it to you. You’ve got to be at the right place at the right time, but you’ve got to go with the mentality to make that happen. It gets you off the field. That’s your job.”
As the Auburn defense looks to revitalize its tackling efforts Saturday against No. 18 LSU (6 p.m. ET, ESPN), the players also will be trying to get their hands on the football — mauling the opposing Tigers however and whenever possible. After forcing 2 turnovers in the season opener vs. Clemson, Auburn has none in the last two games.
“Interceptions may or may not happen, because sometimes those incompletions are uncatchable by both parties,” Steele said. “When you’re tackling, we’ve got to do a better job of that. And that’s something we talked extensively about today — ripping the ball out, getting turnovers, creating scoring opportunities and scoring ourselves.”
Kevin Steele’s unit is holding itself accountable, looking to make up for Auburn’s lackluster offensive performance in its 29-16 loss to Texas A&M.
“It’s not something that we don’t work on,” Steele said. “We do work on it, but we’ve got to do a better job of it. We very much need to be a more opportunistic defense in terms of creating turnovers.”
Auburn expects just one simple change on the stat sheet to have a major effect on the outcome of games.
“College football is a game of momentum,” junior linebacker Tre Williams said. “Whoever has the most momentum mostly wins the game. I mean on special teams, we had a ton of momentum but offense and defense-wise we think (A&M) had more momentum than us, of course it showed at the end of the game.”
Moving forward, the defense hopes to provide a spark Auburn desperately needs after losing six straight SEC home games.
“It’s a priority now,” Williams said. “We haven’t really gotten many takeaways in the last three games, so now in the next game we’re going to have to make it do what it do.”