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Tigers Continue Defensive Preparations for Vanderbilt

Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele (Photo: Auburn Athletics)

The ninth-ranked Auburn Tigers are putting the finishing touches on their game plan for this Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.

Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele spoke to the media on Wednesday night, and provided a more in-depth look at the Ole Miss game, as well as gave a preview of what fans can expect to see from an on-the-rise Vanderbilt team on Saturday.

Steele opened by quoting former owner of the NFL’s Raiders franchise Al Davis by saying “Just win, baby.” He was referencing his team’s 40-29 win over Ole Miss. He said that even though Auburn got the victory, he feels that the win was not up to the standard that they have set for themselves. Auburn allowed 557 total yards to the Rebels, with quarterback Chad Kelly passing 59 times for 465 yards and three touchdowns.

Steele did say that the defense did do some good things, including responding well to halftime adjustments, and by forcing Ole Miss to kick field goals. He says that a game like that will allow them to re-center where their priorities are, because they can not change the past.

Moving on to Vanderbilt, Steele says that their offense is well coached, and has solid players in key positions. The key in stopping Vanderbilt, is to tackle well, and defend their running game.

Tackling vs Ole Miss:

Steele pointed out that there were a few more missed tackles in the game against Ole Miss than in other games this season, he credits that to fatigue. “When you put yourself in a position where you are playing that many plays, then you get fatigued. We can not allow that to happen.” He says that the players have to turn it up a notch when the situation occurs.

Josh Holsey:

Steele has been impressed senior defensive back Josh Holsey this season. “He has a lot of wisdom.” Steele said of Holsey, “He knows what his abilities are, he knows who he is playing against and what their abilities are, and he knows how to position himself to win the down.” Steele says that Holsey’s mentality comes from valuable experience.

On Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb:

Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway leads the SEC in rushing with 933 yards on 148 attempts. Behind him? Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb. Webb enters the game with 855 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. Webb has Steele’s full attention. “He is a very good player, he is relentless. He is strong, he is quick, and he has good vision. He is a complete player.”

Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur:

Vanderbilt’s signal caller is the son of the newly named interim offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, Pat Shurmur. Steele says the he knows Pat very well, and knows that his son, Kyle, is a smart quarterback, and provides a lot of looks that allows him to throw the football well.

Injured players:

One key injury that Head Coach Gus Malzahn spoke about on Tuesday, was Tre Williams. Malzahn said that Williams and others would practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, Steele provided further information. Steele said that it is normal to have nicks and bruises at this time of the year, and that the only injury that coaches worry about, are concussions. He says that players have worked through their minor injuries.

Auburn faces Vanderbilt on Saturday inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:00 A.M.

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