By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn’s linebackers, with a new position coach and minimal experience, were a question mark heading into the season.
Against Clemson, the LBs had plenty of answers.
“We wanted to show that Auburn’s linebackers corps is different,” said sophomore Deshaun Davis, who made five tackles. “A lot of guys were talking about, ‘We were inexperienced,’ but we all play with confidence. We all play fast. Coach T-Will (linebackers coach Travis Williams) drills being physical. If you’re not physical, you’re not going to be on the field.”
The Tigers held Clemson to fewer than 400 yards of total offense, and 3.4 yards per carry.
“We played well, held the guys to 19 points,” Davis said. “That’s pretty good, but it wasn’t enough, so we’ve got to find a way to get better.”
A student of the game, Davis says preparation played a role in his ability to help limit Clemson’s powerful offense.
“I was trying to get in with Coach T-Will (linebackers coach Travis Williams) a lot and watch film with him. We had two weeks to prepare for these guys,” he said. “So we were ready for anything they threw at us. That’s an area of my game that I try to get the upper hand on and I feel like it paid off.
“What I really key my game on is trying to know what the offense is doing before they do it. It’s discouraging for an offense when you’re lined up at linebacker, when you know where the ball is going before they snap the ball,” said Davis, who played high school football at Vigor in Prichard near Mobile.
Fellow sophomore Darrell Williams, from Hoover, added six tackles, along with a force fumble. Another in-state linebacker, junior Tre’ Williams from St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile, made four tackles.
“I feel like, as a unit, we played really well,” Davis said. “There’s room for improvement. We can still get better, and we’re going to get better.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer