Bell Looking For Improvement In Secondary

Auburn defensive back T'Sharvan Bell talks about the play of the defense as the Tigers get ready for Arkansas.

Auburn, Ala.--From the outside looking in Saturday night's 37-34 win for the Auburn Tigers wasn't a stellar day for the defense. Allowing a high percentage of completed passes and that many points is normally a recipe for disaster but for Auburn it was another step forward according to sophomore T'Sharvan Bell.

"I think we came out fast even though we gave up a touchdown on the first drive," Bell said. "We didn't give up and particularly I thought we came out fast and physical. After that we kind of lost our edge. We definitely got better but we've got a long way to go."

Allowing just over 100 rushing yards, Auburn was able to make Kentucky one-dimensional and while they gave up a ton of underneath routes there were no big plays given up. Bell said it can be a challenge at times to remain patient on defense they've got the overall defensive scheme in mind and that is to make the offense work for everything it gets.

"It's definitely (frustrating)," Bell said. "We just want to find ways to get better playing the calls the coaches give us. We have to find ways to squeeze different routes or come up and have better run support. We just want to get better in that area.

"It's very important," Bell said of the big plays. "Last year we went back and watched the games we lost against LSU and Arkansas and we gave up a lot of big plays. If we don't give up those plays we don't get beat the way we do. The big plays are something the coaches are going to emphasize and we're very aware of them. We're just going to try to limit them the best we can."

Keeping plays in front of them means tackling must be very solid in order for the defense to work at it's maximum potential. That's something that has improved for the Tigers this year but Bell said it's nowhere close to what they're looking for.

"That's definitely something that we come out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and try to work on tackling and do different drills," Bell said. "We just have to carry it over to the game. In practice it looks good and in games most of the time we're making tackles but there are missed tackles too we should make."

Auburn's defense must improve in a hurry this week as the Arkansas Razorbacks' powerful offense led by quarterback Ryan Mallett comes calling this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on CBS. Facing one of the top passing offenses in the country, Bell said the Tigers are excited about the opportunity and looking forward to the challenge.

"We've got a big test coming," Bell said. "The stakes get higher every week. It will be no different than how we've been preparing. They are a good team coming in but we're here at home and we're not going to prepare any differently.

"It's definitely going to be a challenge for us," he added. "We're excited and we're already talking about it. We're coming in and getting a head start on watching film. We accept the challenge because that's what Auburn players do."

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