Young Defensive Linemen Stepping Up

Auburn's young defensive linemen have already made an impact on the Tigers this season.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior defensive lineman Nosa Eguae has seen his share of quality defensive linemen in his time on the Plains. A redshirt in 2009, Eguae played alongside Nick Fairley, Antoine Carter, Zach Clayton, Mike Blanc and a load of quality players on the way to the BCS National Championship in 2010.

As someone who knows what to look for, Eguae said he feels like the future of the defensive line at Auburn is in good hands because of the young players on the roster right now. Seeing freshmen such as Montravius Adams, Carl Lawson and Elijah Daniel already making plays has him pumped up about the coming years for Auburn, but also about the rest of the 2013 season.

"We have to make sure our game is on point so when those younger guys look at the little things people don't see on the field, the steps and technique stuff, that they are saying ‘these older guys are doing it and we've got to do it, too.'

"We're just trying to lead by example and holding ourselves accountable so we can hold those guys accountable," Eguae said. "Those guys are great players. Y'all see that on Saturday. Those guys are going to have bright futures. We all need them to step up, but we've got to elevate our game in this next stretch of games coming up."

Second among all defensive linemen in total tackles this season with eight, Adams also has one sack and a tackle for a loss in his first four games. Seeing his playing time increase with every game, Adams is a player Eguae is excited to see develop the more he learns about the game on this level.

"He's confident," Eguae said "He's a confident kid. He's not a kid of a bunch of words, but he's a confident kid. When he comes in there he's just ready to go out there and do what he's got to do to help this team win. As an older guy you love seeing that. He's just going to continue to get better."

Adams has seen his playing time increase because of an injury to senior defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker. Missing the first four games following surgery, Whitaker is working to try to get back this season, but that's far from a given.

Whitaker isn't the only defensive lineman who has missed time this season, far from it. Senior defensive ends Dee Ford and Craig Sanders have both missed games this year and even Eguae has been banged up as well. Getting Lawson, Daniel and Justin Delaine into the mix has helped with the depth concerns and Eguae said that's what it's all about.

Now with a week off to get ready for one of the biggest games of the Ole Miss Rebels, Eguae said it continues to be the next man up approach for the Tigers and that's how it is in the rough and tumble world of SEC football.

"We have been banged up, but that's football," Eguae said. "That's every team in the country. It's not an excuse. The next guy has to step up. Whoever has been out since the beginning of camp the next guy has stepped up. We're just going to continue to do that."

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