Can Flowers Help Power the Auburn Defense?

The spring game's MVP on defense, Kenny Flowers, talks about his development at linebacker.

Auburn, Ala.--Unless an Auburn football fan was paying very close attention that person would have barely noticed that Kenny Flowers played linebacker for the SEC champs last season.

Seeing very limited on the field time in his first year at Auburn after transferring in from junior college with three seasons of eligibility, Flowers is making progress towards becoming a bigger part of the defense for his second season on the Plains.

He took a positive step forward on Saturday by being named the Defensive Most Valuable Player at the annual A-Day Game. Playing for the White (second team) defense he made five solo tackles with two assists. He added one more solo tackle and an assist for the Blue defense. He finished with 2 1/2 tackles for 12 lost yards and got one of the two quarterback sacks on A-Day.

"It felt great to show people my improvement," said Flowers, who was in on four tackles last season with two coming on special teams. "It felt great to show people I can be a factor."

Kenny Flowers

Last season the 6-1, 230-pounder from Lilburn, Ga., played the weakside linebacker spot. This spring he moved inside to middle linebacker where the Tigers are replacing 2013 starter Jake Holland and where the No. 2 player on the depth chart last year, Kris Frost, moved to weakside linebacker trading places with Cassanova McKinzy, the team's leading tackler in 2013 who moved inside to the middle spot.

"It is a big change for me because the mike linebacker is the quarterback of the defense,"?he said. "It makes you learn the whole defense. I still need a lot of improvement, but my coach, Ellis Johnson, has helped me a lot.

"The spring started real slow," he noted. "I had my ups and downs like everybody, but I improved every day," said Flowers, whose father Kenny was a star at Clemson who played for the Atlanta Falcons.

Flowers said by the middle of spring training he began feeling comfortable in his new role with help from the other linebackers.

The junior admitted that he was surprised when he found out he was named the spring game MVP. "I couldn't do it without my D-line and my secondary behind me," he said.

Asked about what he saw from the group on his side of the line of scrimmage during the 15 spring practices, Flowers said, "We got off to a little bit of a slow start, but we stayed very disciplined and improved."

Flowers and the Tigers are concentrating on academics this week as the spring semester comes to a close. Auburn will open the 2014 season with a home game vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks.

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