AUBURN, Ala. — Immediately after Auburn’s loss to Texas A&M in its SEC opener, senior captain Montravius Adams offered a simple answer as to how his team would rebound.
“I mean really it all boils down to leadership,” Adams said. “I think we have great leadership on this team. “When we come in, we’re going to make our corrections and move on to the next game (against LSU).”
Just as the Auburn defense isn’t short on playmakers or depth, it isn’t lacking leaders. It doesn’t matter if a player is new or experienced, the opportunity to offer support and guidance is there.
“I mean it can really be anybody,” junior linebacker Tre Williams said. “It can go from Marlon (Davidson), who’s a freshman who plays really well. It can go from Carl Lawson, who’s a veteran, of course everyone looks up to him. … We’re all one. We all see ourselves as equal.”
The group also is clear on the direction the team needs to head in order to avoid a seventh-straight home loss to an SEC team. Correcting mistakes and making improvement continues to be the focus.
Auburn ranks 79th in the country in yards allowed per game (401.0), slightly better than a season ago when the Tigers surrendered 405.2 per game. But there are signs of improvement:
- Auburn ranks 22nd nationally on third-down defense (27.1 percent). The Tigers allowed conversions 41 percent of the time in 2015.
- Opponents are scoring 20.7 points per game compared to 26.0 last season.
“Despite our record or who we played, or how we played or who we play next, it’s on our leadership to pick up and get younger guys and also the older guys on board so we can keep moving forward,” Williams said.
The defensive influence has become more important through Auburn’s first three games. Overall, Auburn’s offense is a young and inexperienced group, which has led to miscommunication and stagnation.
The defense is holding themselves accountable.
“As a leader it’s different because you know if your offense is struggling you put it on yourself as a defense to make a big play or get an interception,” Adams said. “We’re a team so we’re here to help each other. Offense feels they need to help defense, defense feels they need to help the offense, and special teams needs to help all around. We communicate a lot (during the game).”