April 20, 2014
Junior linebacker Kenny Flowers was named the top defensive player in Saturday's A-Day game (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - Junior linebacker Kenny Flowers just wanted to have a solid performance during Auburn's A-Day game on Saturday, to show his coaches he'd improved over the course of the spring.
Instead, Flowers won the Mark Dorminey Defensive Most Valuable Player award. He was in on nine tackles, including 2 ½ for losses, and had the game's first sack.
"It was real exciting," Flowers said after the Blue, including the first teams on offense and defense, won 58-3. "I wasn't a big factor in the defense last year, but me doing this, I'm just happy. I didn't have too great of a spring. I did a lot of improving, but I didn't see this coming."
Flowers started the game playing for the overmatched White team. After a quarter, when it was time for starters Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy to take their seats, Flowers switched to the Blue team. He made plays for both teams.
"We're improving a lot," Flowers said. "Without my d-line and the people behind me, I couldn't have done it."
Flowers, 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, signed with Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College after a standout career at Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga. He redshirted his first year and arrived at Auburn last year with three years of eligibility remaining. He arrived with plans of playing a significant role early, but it didn't happen that way. He made just four tackles as Auburn went 12-2 and won the Southeastern Conference championship.
"It wasn't frustrating," Flowers said. "It was a big learning curve, coming from junior college. Jumping into this is a big move. I had a lot of learning to do, getting to know the defense and the ins and outs. Linebackers are pretty much the quarterbacks of the defense. We need to know a lot."
Senior star Robenson Therezie said he and other Auburn defensive players have seen Flowers improve dramatically since last season.
"We expect a lot out Kenny Flowers," Therezie said. "He's getting great with both positions. I feel like today was a great day for him to open up and just fly."
Flowers is unlikely to move into the starting lineup next season, but he says that's not important. He'll do his part behind McKinzy and Frost.
"I just want to contribute and do my part to help my team win," Flowers said. "Whatever I can do to do that, that's what I want to do."
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: