Blake Countess and Auburn's defense turn their attention to Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Blake Countess says Auburn's defense is looking ahead to its next challenge, and that next challenge is trying to stop Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott on Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn and Mississippi State are both 2-1, both having lost to LSU. History, says Countess.
"You can't worry about what happens in Week 3. You just got to worry about next week and getting better every week," said the Auburn defensive back. "That's what that 2013 team did, and they ended up where they wanted to be… and that's what Coach Malzahn is pushing us to do."
The 2013 Tigers also lost at LSU, then famously played itself into the national championship game. Countess, a transfer from Michigan, has heard that story this week, and says this year's team can find itself as well.
"This is really where you see what type of leadership you have on the defense, what type of leadership you have on the team, how we're going to bounce back," he said. "This game is as important as any game this season just because of what happened last week."
Auburn fell behind early last Saturday at LSU before losing 45-21. The 2013 Tigers lost at LSU 35-21 before winning night straight games,
Countess says Auburn is looking for a similar fresh start, one that now includes a new starting quarterback in Sean White.
"Those three games are behind us. You do have some information, some glaring things on film that we have to get fixed," Countess said.
"I do think we have to get better, absolutely. We're working on that and we're going to get better."
Coach Gus Malzahn has said he has taken responsibility for his team's uneven start. Countess is also taking responsibility.
"You have to be very critical," Countess said. "We do have film, we watched the film and put that behind us. We know what we have to do to get better. That's what we're focused on is moving forward.
"We got to have a great week of practice. We got to get back to our fundamentals and technique, and this will be a great challenge. We're up for it."
The defense will press on with one of its best players. Malzahn said Tuesday that defensive end Carl Lawson will miss significant time with a hip injury. He played the first half of Auburn's season-opening win over Louisville, but hasn't played since. That's after missing 2014 recovering from knee surgery.
"Obviously it's a big loss," Countess said. "Carl is a good player, but that just means somebody else has to step up, somebody has to fill that role."
The injury likely means more playing time for Byron Cowart.
"Somebody goes down, somebody has to step up," Countess said. "I think Byron Cowart has done a pretty good job with preparation and things like that and he's gotten some significant playing time, so we'll see what he does. The opportunity is there."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine