By Jeff Shearer
Montravius Adams says he feels like he just got to Auburn the other day, but now he refers to himself as one of the "old heads."
Adams, a senior defensive lineman, considered leaving early for the NFL, but a conversation with his mother helped change his mind.
"I did want to leave. Thought about it. Took some time off. Prayed about it," Adams said. "When I talked to my momma, she said, `You're about to be finished with school.' I graduate in December, so I just decided I was going to come back and make this last run with my team."
Adams and redshirt junior Carl Lawson are expected to anchor a defensive line that figures to be a position of strength for Auburn this fall.
"We haven't played a complete season together yet," Adams said. "So both of us are going to try to stay healthy this year. Compete against each other and make each other better. And we're going to try to make the team better.
"We lost a couple seniors who made a big impact. But I feel like we've got a lot of wise guys, experience-wise. I'm one of the old guys. Carl's one of the old guys. I just feel like with us being here to teach the young guys, I feel like we can be better than we have been."
One of the young guys is freshman defensive lineman Marlon Davidson, who enrolled in January.
"He kind of reminded me of myself," Adams said. "He's getting that `Coach G' (Garner) coaching. He's getting used to college football, taking the coaching. I think he'll be a great player. I think coming in, he's above where I was. I think the sky's the limit."
Adams says he tries to help the underclassmen manage the challenges that come with adjusting from high school football to the SEC.
"I just try to explain to them, `Everything takes time. It might not happen how you expect it to happen.' I know they're going to get it. And when that light clicks, we're just going to run with it," he said.
Adams wants to set an example for the younger players and leave a legacy.
"Just trying to be a leader. Trying to work on everything. But I know I've got to be first. I've got to be that guy to be first in everything," Adams said. "Right now, I try to win everything that we do. So I can show the young guys, `This is what you have to do, so that when I'm gone, this is what y'all should be doing and the team will get better.'"
Momentum from Auburn's bowl victory versus Memphis carried over into offseason workouts.
"It's really big. The last game, they were just preaching to win that game so we could take momentum into this season. I know we've got a big game coming up against Clemson. A little while from now, but it goes by fast. So we need that momentum because they're a pretty good team."
Adams, with 6.5 career sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss, believes his work and study habits will allow him to end his Auburn career the right way.
"I'm in the weight room all the time, trying to be stronger and faster," he said. "This year, I'm taking more time to write notes, and learn the game, staying in the film room. Just trying to stay with the coaches and live the game."
Adams is one of the seniors who developed Auburn's `Earn It' motto for 2016.
"We're probably not going to be ranked in the Top 25. It's like when we came here in 2013, off the 3-9 season, we had to earn everything," he said. "We're the only ones who have expectations for us. So when we're in the weight room, we're earning it. We earn our teammates' respect, the coaches' respect. And we want to earn it for everybody. Everything we do."
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer