April 9, 2014
LaDarius Owens is a senior Auburn defensive end and a communications major. He was a 4-star recruit out of Jess Lanier High School in Bessemer. He has been injured and unable to go through spring practice. He shares his thoughts.
By LaDarius Owens
This spring has been a challenging yet character-building experience for the Auburn Tiger defensive line.
With injuries to more than a few of its players, the Tiger front four has not been at full force all spring. LaDarius Owens, Elijah Daniel, JaBrian Niles and Tyler Nero have all missed practice at some point. Without these veterans in the daily practice lineup, the remaining defensive linemen have had to take up the slack for their fallen brothers.
The remaining players rotating up front are Carl Lawson, Jeff Whitaker, Ben Bradley, Angelo Blackson, Gabe Wright, Montravius Adams, Gimel President and Keymiya Harrell. This small but dedicated group of guys has had to fight through the situation this spring and take a lot of reps for the missing linemen.
Some players, such as Gabe Wright and Montravius Adams, have even had to learn new positions along the D-line. Wright, a senior to be, says, "Athough learning a new position is fun and I'm learning it pretty quickly, it's still tough for us as a unit not having the other guys out there to take reps and give us a breather or time to rest. But it's making us all push ourselves beyond limits we thought we had."
Although the Tigers are low in bodies on the defensive line now, don't think for a second that the D-line as a unit isn't getting better and stronger from the experience.
Adams, who will be a sophomore this fall, says, "This spring and this experience is good for me with our numbers being down. I didn't play a large number of snaps last year during the season, so me being strained and tested now is helping to get me ready for next season."
Players build character in difficult times, which is why the Tigers' front four will be a force to be dealt with when it is back at full force.