Defense happy with A-Day performance

Auburn’s spring football game was a more typical scrimmage than Bryan Harsin’s first. The game was a four-quarter live scrimmage, ending with a Tigers team beating the Auburn team 10-9.

“Overall defensively we had an opportunity for a takeaway, so we want to continue with that. I thought up front with the starting defense guys they played the run well and put pressure on the quarterback,” head coach Bryan Harsin said. “We did some things on the back cover, which I thought was good to see from my angle.”

The score was a bit atypical. Rather than a true two-team format, the team was split roughly in half for white and blue teams, but the participants on the field were a mix of each color. Team Tiger or Auburn would then earn points when a team scored in the end zone with that word.

The game ended with a back pass from freshman quarterback Holden Geriner to newly converted tight end Landen King. King went over his defender’s shoulder to catch and tie the Auburn team within a winnable margin, but their two-point conversion effort fell through.

“It was fun today getting the guys to compete. To have this opportunity late (the game ending until the last game) to have fun, to compete and everyone getting up for that last game, win or lose, that was fun,” Harsin said. “To have some bragging rights after that game was fun. It’s been a good spring.

The entire defense finished the day with 65 tackles including 43 solo. Eight of them were for a loss, for a total of -31 yards.

“I think our preparation has been pretty good. It was practice 15, obviously the last of the spring. The guys have made progress over the spring as a whole,” said Derick Hall. “We had the call sheet. We knew everything was going to happen. »

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The defense also recorded three pass breakups, a rushing quarterback and four sacks. The quarterbacks were out of contact, so the sacks were assumed for statistical purposes but not actually executed on the field.

“We have a checklist, and the first thing is to stop the race. After you stop the run, you can pressure the quarterback, clear the explosives,” Hall said. “We want to be a first run attack, so stopping the run puts us in a position to rush the passer and bring the ball back to our attack.”

With the end of spring workouts, the players are done with coach-led workouts until fall camp, where those workouts will resume and the battle for starting positions really begins.

“We have finals and everything is coming. Really, that’s the most important thing: academics, finishing school. We have two weeks of training and then we have a discretionary period. We have four weeks, May, off,” Hall said. “You don’t think about the ball for a few weeks and then come back on June 1, that’s when we start our summer training.”

After a brief period of rest and recovery, the team will return to Auburn for summer practices and then fall camp in August. Top position starters will likely be known leaders like Derick Hall and senior Eku Leota, with players like rookie Dylan Brooks making progress to be firmly behind that pair.

Callie Stanford | Sports journalist

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