Auburn Defense Preparing for Balanced Razorback Approach
Auburn Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele spoke to the media on Wednesday night. During his availability, he discussed how much his defense has improved at the halfway mark of the season, and about this Saturday’s opponent, Arkansas. Steele opened about what the team did during the bye week. He was relieved that they bye week came at the halfway point of the season, saying that it was a great time for players to heal their minor injuries, and for younger players to get some work in. Auburn hit the practice field last Tuesday, and according to Steele, the team focused on themselves to begin the week. “Last Tuesday and Wednesday was basically against no opponent, we focused on just getting better. Technique, fundamentals, tackling,” said Steele. “Last Thursday, we worked on Arkansas. Sunday was a different kind of Sunday because we actually got two Tuesday practices, which was huge. Today we worked on the red area and third down.” Moving onto the Arkansas game, Steele first complimented Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen. Steele said that Allen is a playmaker. So much so, that Steele has made sure that his players are not focused on the Arkansas of the past. This season’s Arkansas team is more balanced than most are used to, and it all starts with Allen. “They are balanced, and you have to make sure that you do not get the top knocked off of the coverage. You match up the receivers, and you fit the gap,” said Steele. Despite the balanced approach that Arkansas presents, Steele says that the game will be played the same way on Saturday that it always has, “They are not going to put more than eleven guys out there. We get eleven out there too, and there is one ball. So do your job.” Two other players on the Razorback offense that stand out to Steele, are running back Rawleigh Williams, and tight end Jeremy Sprinkle. Steele says that the challenge that Williams brings to the table, is position on the stat sheet. Through seven games, Williams leads the SEC with 785 yards on 140 attempts. For Sprinkle, his ability to line up anywhere is a threat to Steele. “They move that guy around a lot. He can be a fullback, he can be a tight end on the line of scrimmage, he can be a tight end adjacent to another tight end.” said Steele of Sprinkle, “He is kind of their move guy.” Along with a balanced attack, Steele and the Auburn defense will need to find ways to get the Arkansas offense off of the field. The Hog’s offense averages 36:57 time of possession, which is second in the country. Steele says that the message to his team is simple, “You can not give up big runs, you can not give up big passes, and you have to get off the field on third down.” Auburn continues their preparation for Arkansas. Kickoff is this Saturday at 5 P.M. inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.