Auburn Linebackers Expecting Physical Games

Cassanova McKinzy, Jake Holland and Kris Frost talk about the Auburn defense as the Tigers head to Tennessee this week riding a five-game winning streak.

Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy predicts his team's 35-17 road victory at Arkansas will help get the Auburn defense ready for its final three regular season SEC games vs. Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, opponents with a commitment to being physical with their running attacks.

"I would have to say that is the most physical game I have played in," said McKinzy, a sophomore who was in on seven tackles vs. the Razorbacks, a total that is one off his season high.

"I think it will be more of the same again this week," McKinzy added as the Tigers prepare for their final road trip of the regular season.

Auburn's starting weakside linebacker also picked up his first interception as a collegian vs. Arkansas after he pulled in a pass that was deflected by senior end Dee Ford. Two plays later the Tigers were on top 7-0. "That is a great feeling to make an impact play," he said.

Starting middle linebacker Jake Holland, who was in on six tackles vs. the Razorbacks, agrees with McKinzy about the intensity of the hard-fought road win in Fayetteville that improved Auburn's record to 8-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC.

"There is no doubt that it was a physical game," said Holland, who added that he was impressed with Razorback running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins.

Jake Holland has been in on 32 tackles for the Tigers this season.

The Tigers are ranked second in red zone defense this week and made two red zone stops vs. Arkansas, but Holland said they are not satisfied with that part of their play. "We have been a good red zone team all year. That is something we take a lot of pride in and we are looking to get better at it."

Holland noted that the Tigers are enjoying their team's success with eight wins in nine games after winning just three of 12 starts in 2012. "Coming off of last year this is definitely a step up," he said. "Being a senior I definitely want to go out with a bang."

Backup middle linebacker Kris Frost contributed to the victory over the Razorbacks as he assisted on three tackles and recovered a fumble. The sophomore agreed with McKinzy and Holland that there was plenty of hitting taking place at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"I definitely saw us playing hard, playing physical," he said. "We knew it was going to be a physical game and we would need to play with a lot of passion. We did that, but we made a lot of mistakes."

However, when the final whistle blew the Tigers still controlled their destiny in the race to represent the West in the SEC Championship Game. "It feels great after all we have been through," he pointed out. "It continues to feel better and better and it makes us more hungry for more."

Kris Frost has seen a major increase in his playing time this season and has been in on 32 tackles.

Frost said the focus for the defense this week will be eliminating mistakes while getting ready to play the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday.

Kickoff time for that contest is shortly after 11 a.m. CST from Neyland Stadium in Knoxville where the Tigers will take on an opponent that is 4-5 overall this season and 1-4 in league play under the direction of first-year UT?head coach Butch Jones. The Vols' one SEC win was an impressive one, upsetting the South Carolina Gamecocks, who are ranked 13th this week.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories