Tray Matthews yells out signals to Auburn's defense
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Will Muschamp saw an improvement in his defense the last time out and now he wants even more.
"Let's make another third-down stop. Let's create more momentum for our football team," he says.
Auburn's defensive coordinator has had a chance to cook up a plan to do just that against San Jose State in Saturday's 3 p.m. homecoming game in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn will be trying to slow Tyler Ervin, who was last seen rushing for the highest total in big-time football this season. Ervin rushed for 300 yards against Fresno State last weekend, and, counting his 45 yards in receptions, also has the best total yardage in a game this year.
Somewhere in Auburn's memory banks is Ervin's 75-yard touchdown catch he had in the Tigers' 59-13 victory last season.
"Their tailback definitely will get your attention," said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.
Mississippi State beat Auburn 17-9 last Saturday, but the Tigers' defense stood tall in the second half, allowing just a field goal.
"I feel like we really took a good step forward," said defensive end Montravius Adams "There are some things we could have (done) after we had corrections at practice, but overall, I think we did pretty good."
Auburn will trot out Sean White for his second start, and second game ever, at quarterback for the homecoming faithful. White hit 20-of-28 passes last weekend.
"I think he'll get nothing but better with experience," Malzahn said.
And now comes Ervin. San Jose State offensive coordinator Al Borges, who was Auburn's offensive coordinator from 2004-07 and who is treating this as something of a homecoming as well, says you might do a double-take at the 5-foot-10, 170-pound former receiver.
"If he walks into a room, you all going to say, 'There's no way that kid is going to get you 300 yards' because he just doesn't look like that kind of guy," Borges said. "But what he has is great acceleration and great burst.
"He's hard to tackle and stronger than you would think. He does some things that will surprise you. But the biggest thing is if he gets a step on you he's hard to catch because he's got great speed. He's got good vision, he has receiving skills. A lot of the pros think he may end up a wide receiver.
"He's kind of a complete package, but he's not the profile that you would envision, the guy with that much skill."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine