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Auburn Defense Continues to "Trust the Process"

Auburn Defense (Photo: Auburn Athletics)

A lot has happened in the 24-hours since Auburn defeated LSU at Jordan-Hare Stadium on a wild, last second decision.

Early Sunday morning, a 29-year-old man by the name of Jochen Weist was arrested after video evidence showed the male intentionally set one of the Toomer’s Oaks on fire. Weist was charged with desecration of a venerable object. Also, LSU made the announcement that Head Coach Les Miles and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron had been relieved of their duties.

Just a normal Auburn-LSU matchup, eh?

On Sunday evening, Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele met with the media, to recap the game from the defensive side of things, and also talk about his former boss, Les Miles.

Auburn’s defense held LSU to 338 total yards last Saturday night, which is great in itself, but they also held running back Leonard Fournette to only 101 yards rushing. Tray Matthews and Carl Lawson were the key defenders in the win. Matthews was the leading tackler, with 9, and Lawson ended the night with 2 sacks.

What else intrigued Steele?

On defensive mentality:

During his lengthy opening statement, Steele said that the defense had played well, despite the scoreboard not showing that. He told his players to believe in the process, continue to improve, and to tackle well, and the results would show. He says that players this week with hear about how well they are doing, and maybe receive a few pats on the back. But, he made sure to tell them on Sunday, that the mentality will not change.

What were the turning points in Saturday’s game?

According to Steele, the two momentum shifting moments of the game, was the fourth quarter fumble recovery by Jeff Holland, and each of the three times that the defense shut down LSU’s drive, and forced Colby Delahoussaye to kick a field goal, which we has only successful on two of them.

What is the defense’s goal on third down?

From his days in the NFL, Steele has always been around coaches whose goal, was 70%. Out of every 10 third down plays, he wants at least seven of those to be stops. He credits the players for their understanding of what is asked of them on third down. He also praised Defensive Backs Coach Wesley McGriff for preparing them during practice.

On Carl Lawson:

Lawson had two sacks against LSU. The downfall to Lawson, is that he is performing well, despite what the stat sheet says at the end of the day. Steele was pleased that Lawson’s hard work paid off on Saturday night.

On Leonard Fournette:

Leonard Fournette, regarded as one of the highest-rated running backs in the nation, was held to only 101 rushing yards on Saturday night. “He can make people miss, but he can also run through you.” said Steele of Fournette. Steele said that the game plan was not centered around Fournette entirely, but that he was definitely the main target.

On Les Miles:

LSU Head Coach, Les Miles, as well as offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, were relieved of their duties on Sunday afternoon, in what was a shocking turn of events. LSU running back Leonard Fournette said that he and other players felt guilty, saying that their playing ability may have had something to do with Miles being fired. Miles was on a rather warm seat heading into the season, and starting out 2-2 after being ranked in the top-5 nationally was enough for him to get the boot. Steele worked for Miles during the 2015 season, and enjoyed his time in Baton Rouge. As you can imagined, Steele was just as shocked as everyone else was when he heard the news. “I understand the business side of it (Miles’ firing). My thoughts and prayers are with his family.” Steele looked at the decision from a different perspective. “From a philosophical standpoint, this is an education business at the end of the day. We have 18-22 year olds at a educational institution, and we are teachers at the end of the day. Because of that, at this time in the process, philosophically, I don’t believe in it.” Steele went on to mention that interim coach, Ed Orgeron, is a great coach, and will get the job done.

On Tre Williams ejection:

Linebacker Tre Williams was ejected on Saturday night following a reviewed ruling of “targeting” after helmet-to-helmet contact with LSU quarterback Danny Etling. Steele says that it’s his job to implement safe tackling when he coaches his defense. “It’s not for us to decide when it's a bang-bang moment.” said Steele on safe tackling. “But, once they have decided, (the officiating crew), then you know the SEC rules.” Steele says that he and Williams will review the film, and work on correcting the issue.

Auburn will now focus on Louisiana-Monroe. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 on Saturday afternoon at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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