Steele Confident in Defense as First Road Trip Approaches
Auburn Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
The last coach to speak with the media prior to this Saturday’s road matchup against Mississippi State, was Defensive Coordinator, Kevin Steele. Steele opened by saying that he challenged his players to get better, and he feels that they did. He says that he feels that areas they need to improve on, are with the reserves. Steele wants those players who come off the bench to be ready when called upon, especially later in the season. In preparation for Mississippi State, Steele says that this week has been great at practice. “We have to be who we are. We have to play by our standard” Steele said when discussing the challenge that lies ahead in their first road game of the season. “It’s not about who we play, where we play, (or) what time we play. Obviously, all of those things are different this week. We gotta make sure that our guys understand that to the fullest.” As far as individual players are concerned, Steele has been impressed with lineman, Montravius Adams, and his improvement since Steele arrived on campus. “We challenged him with things in the spring with some things that he needed to improve on,” says Steele of Adams. “We made a list of those things, in terms of pad leverage and use of hands, and being effective in the pass rush.” Steele likes the way that Adams affects those around him, whether it be the opposition or his teammates. He says that Adams has the ability to help his teammates, even when he is not involved in the tackle. “He’s making sure that they (the opposing offense) keep two guys on him. If he doesn’t, he is going to affect where the ball carrier has to go, if not to the ground.” Adams has improved every game, according to Steele. Steele was asked about other players, including linebackers Deshaun Davis, and Montavious Atkinson. Deshaun Davis is known for being undersized for his position. According to the media guide, Davis is 5’11” and weighs 239 pounds. Even with his size, he is among one of the threats to opposing offenses. “He is instinctive, he is very football smart,” Steele says of Davis. Steele is not all too worried about Davis’ size. He compared Davis to a linebacker that he coached during his time with the Carolina Panthers, Sam Mills. Mills was also known for his undersized frame. As for Atkinson, Steele called him a “rolling ball of butcher knives”, due to his fast style of play. Moving on to Mississippi State, Steele says that Bulldog quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is a guy that can run the ball very well. The way they use Fitzgerald, according to Steele, reminds him of the way that Head Coach Dan Mullen used his quarterbacks during his time as offensive coordinator at Florida, under Coach Urban Meyer. “They are comfortable with that kind of offense. They understand it, and know how to attack.” Steels also talked about star receiver, Fred Ross. The aspect of Ross that impresses Steele the most, is yards after the catch. “He runs good routes,” Steele said of Ross. “He is a physical route runner. But the biggest thing that really jumps out at you, is after he catches the ball.” Auburn travels to Starkville on Saturday, to face Mississippi State. Kickoff scheduled for 11 A.M.