Kris Frost (above) and the Tigers will take on the Georgia Bulldogs at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn, Ala.--Consistency is one of the main goals for Auburn's defense under the directon of coordinator Will Muschamp, something the Tigers may be getting closer to achieving following an impressive performance on the road at Texas A&M last Saturday night.
Allowing just 10 points and creating three turnovers vs. the Aggies, Auburn’s defense has changed with the return of Carl Lawson and improved play in the secondary.
Despite moments of improved play against Kentucky, Arkansas and even Ole Miss, Muschamp said the job is to continue and keep getting better this week as Auburn takes on a talented Georgia football team on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“Well, again, there’s far too many inconsistencies until the last ball game just to say that, in my opinion,” Muschamp said when asked if his defense is getting closer to being consistently good. “I think that’s a far stretch for us right now. We’ve certainly improved, but we’ve improved ourselves from the open week on. We have gotten better each week.
“Now the stats may not indicate that, that’s fine," Muschamp added. "I have coached football a long time. I know there’s been an improvement playing blocks, leveraging the ball, doing the things that good defenses do, tackle well—we’ve done those things. Maybe statistically at times it doesn’t show, but we have been much improved.”
Will Muschamp coaches the linebackers in addition to coordinating the defense.
A group that has shown some signs of life as well for the Tigers has been the linebackers. With Justin Garrett picking off a pass, Kris Frost and Tre Williams both very active in the run game and Cassanova McKinzy pulling double duty at linebacker and end, Frost says the defenders feel better about how they have been playing, but there is still work to be done.
“I feel like exactly what Coach Muschamp says is a reflection of how we feel as a linebacker group,” Frost said. “We know what we need to do better as a unit and we know when we have improved. I feel like this is one of the times we have improved, the past two games, and going into this game coming up against Georgia we know that we have to improve a little bit more. It’s all about just doing everything we can as the leaders of the defense to put ourselves in the best position for our defense.”
Even before the win over Texas A&M this was an Auburn defense that believed in what they were doing, Frost points out. “We definitely saw improvements,” he said. “There has been improvement all year. It’s just a few times we had trouble getting over that hump in close games we came out on the short end of the stick, but when it pays off in a game like it did this past weekend it’s definitely a confidence booster.
"We have all been on the same track and we all believe in our coaches and believe in each other and that’s what’s truly important about a football team," the senior said.
Getting ready to face a Georgia team that has gotten the best of Auburn for much of the last decade with seven wins over the Tigers in the last nine years, it will be up to the defense to turn things around. Allowing at least 30 points to the Bulldogs in each of the last six meetings, Auburn will need to build on last week’s impressive performance heading into the SEC's oldest rivalry.
“It just gives us a whole lot of confidence,” Frost said. “Our confidence is through the roof right now. We just feel like we’re moving in the right direction. All the hard work is paying off and we’re just continuing to work hard."