Auburn, Ala.--Tuesday was the first opportunity this preseason for the Auburn Tigers to have a scrimmage situation and for the defense that meant picking up where they left off in the spring.
While the offense made some big plays on the day, the defense controlled the line of scrimmage for much of the action and overall linebacker DeShaun Davis said it was all about the energy on that side of the football.
“It’s been real fun,” Davis said. “I have been out there to showcase my talent a lot. The coaches are giving a lot of the players freedom so we’re out there really having fun, flying around, making plays. There’s a lot of celebrating going on, but it’s controlled. They don’t let us get too wild, but we’re really having fun. I think that’s key on defense, to fly around and have fun.
“I think we did really good,” he added in particular of the scrimmage. “We started out real strong and had a couple of three and outs. We gave up some late touchdowns, which we have to clean up. It wasn’t anything special the offense did. They made a couple of plays. I think we have a great foundation to build on. We just have to go in and watch film and make corrections.”
Getting the opportunity to run the show on the first-team defense with Tre Williams wearing a boot because of a sprained ankle, Davis got a lot of reps on Tuesday because he also mixed in with the second unit as well.
That is something that has continued for him following a strong spring with Coach Travis Williams. Finally getting a chance to show what he can do on the field, Davis said it’s all about taking advantage of his opportunity.
One of the things he and the entire defense have focused on this preseason is communication. That’s one of the keys to a defense playing faster, something Davis said he’s seen.
“The communication is going great,” the linebacker said. “Me and Tre right now are running the max (middle linebacker) and we have a great understanding of Coach (Kevin) Steele’s defense and he gives us a lot of freedom to make a lot of checks. Everyone is getting the calls and we’re all lining up and playing fast.”
Davis said turning things around as a program has been the focus for the entire team this summer in workouts as the guys came together for a common goal. Coming off a disappointing season a year ago, Davis said the guys have worked hard to put that behind them.
“It’s just my mindset,” Davis said. “Time is really winding down. I know what I can do on the field. This summer Coach (Ryan) Russell and the strength coaches did a good job of pushing everyone, not just me. Since I have been here I think this is the best summer we’ve had as a complete team. We really want to win. Everyone is competing, even in drills. Everyone has the mindset to compete and get better and I think we really did that this summer.”