Auburn, Ala.--With Alabama’s offense centered around the running of a really big back who is having a really big season, Tre Williams and the rest of Auburn’s linebacker group will be tested in a major way on Saturday.
Derrick Henry, a 6-3, 242 junior, has rushed for 1,526 yards, which is second among SEC runners behind LSU’s Leonard Fournette.
Henry has run for 21 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
“He is an elite back,” says Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who personally works with Williams and the rest of the linebackers. “He runs the ball extremely hard and is going to make you tackle him.
“They are going to force your secondary to make tackles in the game,” Muschamp says. “We have got to be able to tackle well in the game. We have got to be able to gang tackle him.”
Muschamp adds that the Tigers “have got our work cut out for us” and Williams agrees. The sophomore notes that Muschamp will work the defense hard this week in preparation for an opponent that is 10-1 overall and ranked No. 2 nationally.
“We will be ready,” says Williams, a former star at St. Paul’s in Mobile, who was recruited by many colleges, including Alabama. He is a player who understands the rivalry.
“Winning this game would mean a lot,” Williams says. ”It is Auburn-Alabama, the Iron Bowl. It is always great to win the Iron Bowl.”
Tre Williams has been in on 43 tackles this season.
Williams is coming off one of his most productive games as a collegian. He made seven solo tackles vs. Idaho and recovered a fumble. He notes that creating turnovers is a big deal to Muschamp. “Coach always says three turnovers and you win the game. We had three turnovers (vs. Idaho) and we won the game.”
Muschamp is expecting a physical contest on Saturday and points out that Williams is making progress in that area. “His physicality has come on,” the coach says. “That has been the most pleasing part that he continues to take steps forward as far as that is concerned.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 2:30 p.m. CST at Jordan-Hare Stadium.