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'I love spring ball' - Derrick Brown, T.D. Moultry, Malik Willis in Auburn football notebook
<em> 'This is where guys show fight, heart': Derrick Brown competes Thursday in Auburn's fourth spring practice. Photo: Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics</em>
'This is where guys show fight, heart': Derrick Brown competes Thursday in Auburn's fourth spring practice. Photo: Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics
March 8, 2018


By Jeff Shearer
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. - Without a game to look forward to each week, some college football players have been known to view spring practice as something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

Not Derrick Brown.

“I love spring ball,” said Brown, a junior defensive tackle. “This is where guys show fight, heart. This is where guys truly earn their spots. We’re going against the offense. We’re getting after them. They’re getting after us.”

A starter as a sophomore, Brown recorded 56 tackles in 2017, including 3.5 sacks and 9 tackles for loss. He forced a fumble in Auburn’s Iron Bowl win, and blocked a field goal in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

“I think I have room to improve in every area,” Brown said. “Going back and watching the film after the season. I had good games, stats wise, but there were a lot of little mistakes and things that eat at me personally that I want to improve.”

Last year, Auburn’s defensive line replaced stars Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams, and still assembled a top 10 unit.

This year, the Tigers will look for new stars to emerge to supply the production of NFL-bound sack leader Jeff Holland.

“I think we can be more dominating than we were last year,” Brown said. “More want to. Coach G [associate head coach Rodney Garner] tells us when he comes in the room every day, ‘Pick a certain area and try to improve on it.’”

<em> With his speed and athleticism, T.D. Moultry has impressed teammates. Photo: Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics</em>
With his speed and athleticism, T.D. Moultry has impressed teammates. Photo: Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics

After making an impact as a true freshman last season, T.D. Moultry is making a case for an even larger role at the buck position as a sophomore.

“He’s a freak of nature,” linebacker Deshaun Davis said of Moultry, who made 15 tackles in 2017, including 3 in Auburn’s victory over Alabama. “Some of the things he does, he’s going to bring another edge to our defense because of his ability. He’s a fast guy. He has the ability to chase down a speedy quarterback. We’ve seen him chase down Malik a couple times already.”

<em> A teammate says Malik Willis 'has total control' of Auburn's No. 1 offense during the first four spring practices. Photo: Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics</em>
A teammate says Malik Willis 'has total control' of Auburn's No. 1 offense during the first four spring practices. Photo: Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics

That would be quarterback Malik Willis, who is running the first-team offense early in spring practice while Jarrett Stidham recovers from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

“I think Malik has taken a great step in the right direction,” Davis said. “You can tell he’s maturing. You can tell he’s taking advantage of the opportunity to control the No. 1 unit. He looks like an SEC quarterback when he’s out there.

“He has total control of that group. Everyone listens to him. He’s been making some great throws. There’s still room to get better. That’s for everybody. He’s having a great spring so far.” Auburn fans will get their first look at the defending SEC Western Division champions in the A-Day game on April 7 at 3 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:


 

 

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