Auburn Defense: "We Compliment Each Other"
Junior Safety Tray Matthews (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
Auburn’s defense impressed not only fans, but defensive coordinator Kevin Steele as well on Saturday night. In 78 offensive plays, Clemson gained 399 total yards (248 passing, 151 rushing) keeping Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson to a one-dimensional mindset during the game.
“I felt like we played a solid game” senior safety Tray Matthews said during his media availability on Monday night. “Coach emphasized the whole week to keep the top on the coverage, and we tried to do what he said.”
Matthews also spoke on players individually, including Nick Ruffin and Josh Holsey returning from injury. “He played pretty well. We compliment each other. I have all the confidence in the world when he is out there beside me.” Matthews said of Ruffin. Matthews was pleased with Holsey’s return following an injury that shortened his 2015 season. “He would have been a great asset to the team last year if he had not gotten hurt. He plays with a lot of fire, he is an intense player. I’m glad to have a vet like that beside me in the secondary.”
As a whole, Matthews says that the defense has gelled well. “We are all close on the defensive side, we are all around the same age. It is real easy to communicate, we feel real confident. We feel like we can do big things if we stick together and keep up with our potential.”
Matthews addressed the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he received, where he shoved a Clemson player after a play, he has since apologized to the team.
The linebacker play was impressive as well, and Tre Williams gives all the credit to his position coach, Travis Williams. “T-Will is a great coach” said Williams, also on Monday. “Ever since the spring started, he has enforced us to be physical. That’s what we came out to do on Saturday. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Darrell Williams and Deshaun Davis earned much needed game experience on Saturday night against Clemson. Williams recorded 6 tackles and a forced fumble, while Davis picked up 5 tackles, including one for a loss. Williams knew that those two were special heading into the weekend. “They believed in themselves, and we believed in them as well. They came out to play ball.”
Graduate transfer linebacker TJ Neal expressed frustrations on twitter following the game, showing his displeasure for lack of playing time. Williams said that Neal has apologized for those actions. Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele mentioned on Tuesday that Neal’s actions will have no role in playing time.
Auburn continues their preparations for Arkansas State this Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 6:30PM.