Sophomore LB Darrell Williams Says Auburn's Over Arkansas State Is A Confidence Builder

Auburn sophomore linebacker Darrell Williams says the win over Arkansas State was big for the Tigers.

Darrell Williams (above) has made his first two collegiate starts this season for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--One of the key performers for an Auburn defense that has played aggressive football to start the season, sophomore linebacker Darrell Williams is looking for bigger and better things out of the group down the road.

With a dozen tackles and a forced fumble this season, the Hoover High product has become a key playmaker for the Tigers as they look to keep the momentum this week against a talented Texas A&M offense.

Coming off a game in which they allowed just 19 points to Clemson, the Tigers kept the trend going with another strong outing in the win over Arkansas State. With the offense picking up its play the defense shut the door time and time again on the Red Wolves, something Williams pointed out is important.

“It’s huge,” Williams said. “Our thing is that we’ve got to keep getting better every week. We know how hard we worked in the offseason and coming in against Clemson people didn’t really know what to expect and we played good.

“Everybody was kind of shocked and might have thought it was a fluke, but we just have to keep that chip on our shoulder like we had before," he said. "We have to keep coming and keep getting better and show that we’re going to be that defense that attacks you and plays physical.”

You have to go back a long time to see a more complete performance for an Auburn football team as the Tigers played well in every phase in the win. That was particularly important because the offense came out and ran up and down the field, something the linebacker said they expected to see from their teammates.

“We know our offense has a lot of talent,” Williams said. “They just have to keep getting better and on defense we’ve got to keep getting better. Just to see them put a lot of guys in there with a lot of talent, they’re just getting better and they’re going to be a great offense.”

Building confidence in the offense was a big step in the win, but that's a goal for the defense as well, Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele noted. That's particularly important at the linebacker position where Darrell Williams, Tre Williams, DeShaun Davis and Montavious Atkinson continue to gain experience and bond with each other on the field. Steele said the group has done well through two games, but has plenty of room left to grow.

Photo: Jason Caldwell

Tre Williams (30) is Auburn's most experienced linebacker.

"I think those guys have really done a nice job of doing their job," the first-year coordinator said. "They’ve been good downhill and fitting on the run game. The pass game, they have done what we’ve asked them to do. They have done a nice job. Are we where we need to be? No, and they would tell you that. We’ve got a lot of improvement to go, a lot.”

Now with a huge test coming up this Saturday night, Auburn will get back to the drawing board with a plan to try to slow down Trevor Knight and a group of very athletic wide receivers, the keys for the Aggies on offense. Saying their job as a defense is to hold the opposition to one less point than the offense scores, Williams said right now this team is focused on continuing to get better each and every time out and getting in the win column was just the right medicine.

“It’s very important to get your confidence back up,” Williams said. “You come off a loss against a good No. 2 team and it’s kind of a nasty taste because you know you were that close to winning. To get that win just helps to get that nasty taste out of your mouth so you can go on next week.”

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