By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn's defense was on a hot streak knocking down running backs, disrupting quarterbacks and generally causing havoc.
But will last week's open date cool off the Tigers heading into Saturday's 5 p.m. home game against Arkansas? Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele says no, the Tigers are "not built that way."
"Concern is not the right word," he said. "I guess if I was running government, yes, I've got concerns with 'this' happening, but we're not running government. It's just a football game. It's about what we do.
"It still comes back to 'hey, get your hat in your gap, do it with physicality, do it with technique, and fly your tail to the football.' That's what we control. We don't get out of that realm of 'OK, I get concerned about this.' If you look at it, that's not something I control, anyway.
"What play they call, when they call them, who they've got on the field, we don't control that. We control what defense we call, what gap that our players have, what zone they have or what man they have, and how they play that."
Besides, Steele said, last week's open date allowed the Tigers heal up and gave the coaches a chance to look at younger players.
"I think it was important for all of us to catch our breath."
And so Auburn, winners of three straight to improve to 4-2, readies for 5-2 Arkansas, which is playing its first true SEC road game and its third consecutive ranked team. Like Auburn, the Razorbacks have only lost to Top 10 teams.
Auburn's assignment on defense will be slow quarterback Austin Allen, who leads the SEC with 18 touchdown passes. He's the only quarterback in major college football who has thrown multiple touchdown passes in each of his seven games.
Oh, yeah. Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams III leads the SEC in rushing with 785 yards.
"Leading the SEC in rushing… that's a statement," Steele said.
Auburn will consider that, but "we don’t worry about what they do, it's what we do," Steele said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine
Good practices this week, but now, says Auburn's Kevin Steele, 'we've got to go out and produce' against Arkansas. Your scouting report... pic.twitter.com/UMpFwYglof
— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) October 20, 2016
Auburn's defense at work in Wednesday's practice pic.twitter.com/bVyEvl596Z
— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) October 19, 2016