Dye-Gest: Reasons for Hope On AU's Defense

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about the 2015 Auburn Tigers in this edition of his Dye-Gest column.

Dontavius Russell (above) has the potential to be an impact player for the 2015 Tigers.

There are a couple of things I want to see regarding Auburn’s 2015 football team that need to happen for the group to be as good as I think it can be. At the top of the list is defensive improvement, something that I expect will happen.

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If everything falls into place for the new coordinator, Will Muschamp, I think the Tigers can be very good on defense. One of the things that can make it happen is for Carl Lawson to come back strong from the knee injury that caused the end to miss the entire 2014 season. If he plays anywhere close to where I think he can be, with the other good athletes this group has on the defensive front there is no reason the pass rush shouldn’t be considerably improved.

Another defensive lineman coming back from a knee injury who can make a difference is senior Davonte Lambert and he looks like he will be ready to contribute in a major way. He improved throughout the season and was playing well when he was hurt at the end of the year.

A guy whose potential I like up front is Raashed Kennion, who played a little bit at defensive end last season as a true freshman. When he got to campus he was tall and very skinny. He is a bigger now at around 235 or so and he should be fun to watch as he gains experience and grows stronger because he has big-play potential.

Another returning defensive linemen who looks ready to take a larger role is junior Devaroe Lawrence. I think he has a chance to be a special player if he has matured and there are signs that is happening.

Also up front redshirt freshman tackle Dontavius Russell’s play was one of the defensive highlights of spring training. Put him in the mix along with junior Montravius Adams, who I think is going to have his best year, and the rebuilt defensive front has a lot of hope.

I also like what I have seen of Coach Muschamp’s linebacker group. They have that hungry look in their eyes, which is something a coach wants to see. If those guys play up to their potential and the key players in the secondary stay healthy I think this defense is going to fun to watch.

On the other side of the line of scrimmage the fans are anxious to see what Jeremy Johnson can do. I think how well the new starting quarterback performs will be impacted by how good this group of receivers is and I have a feeling they are going to be pretty good, although we won’t know for sure until they get out there on game days and prove they can get the job done in pressure situations.

Last, but not least, I believe that great teams have great chemistry. That comes from leadership and a hunger to be successful. After last season’s disappointing finish, this group should certainly be hungry to do better.

The season is almost here so we won’t have to wait long to find out answers to these questions.

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