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Raashed Kennion growing into role on Auburn's defense
April 1, 2015

Raasheed Kennion fitting into his role as a pass rusher, and more

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  --  Raashed Kennion, all 6-foot-6 of him, says he still getting accustomed to not playing basketball, but such is the life for a big defensive lineman who has his priorities in order.

The Auburn football team signed him to harass quarterbacks, and that's what he'll be striving to do this fall. He's perfecting those skills in spring practice.

"I have not gone a season without playing basketball since I was 5 years old," he said. "It's a lot more football oriented, so of course I'm getting a lot better with football, specifically."

Kennion is getting football big, now tipping the scales at 243 pounds, up from 225 when he arrived last season. He played as a freshman, though he said he would have guessed he was going to redshirt, and finished with a tackle.

Now, he's in a new defensive scheme with a chance to make an impact at the "Buck" position, a defensive end that sometimes acts like a linebacker. His athletic build gives him a shot to transition from one responsibility to the other. "I like it a lot. I feel a lot more natural," Kennion said.

He's at same positon as Carl Lawson, who, too, brings promise of a pass rush but at a more powerful 6-2, 261. Their size is different, but their goal is the same: Bother quarterbacks. They both can drop back, away from the line of scrimmage, as well.

On third downs, when a pass rush is needed, there's a chance they could be on the field at the same time.

Kennion says he's growing into his new role.

"It was hard at first. I'm not even going to lie," he said. "It's a lot different carrying 20 extra pounds. There's a difference between 225 and 250, honestly, but I'm getting used to it."

Kennion said he and fellow defender Justin Thornton "bring a lot more speed to it because Lawson is just as explosive as we are. Carl brings a lot more power, but I think me and JT bring a lot more finesse into the game."

Lawson's game? "He fits perfect. He could play anywhere, honestly, just because of his body type and his knowledge of the game. He understands everything. I've learned a lot from him myself," Kennion said.

Kennion says the defense is learning on the fly with new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

"It's a lot more intense with Coach Muschamp," he said. "He's very strict, he's very hard. He's definitely going to voice out his opinions but at the same time he's the best coach there is defensively."

The difference, he said, "it's a lot more defensive-oriented and fundamentally sound. We work on pass, we work on hand drills a lot more than we did last year. We work on tackling way more than we did last year. And also in the film room it's a lot more camaraderie, so there's a lot more communication and a lot more understanding of the defense and the scheme that coach puts out."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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