Auburn, Ala.--The only returning linebacker with SEC experience on the Auburn roster heading into the 2016 season, junior Tre Williams has seen this group of Tigers step up their play on the defensive side of the ball dating back to last year’s win over Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl.
Much of the reason for that has been leadership with guys like Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams, Johnathan Ford and himself stepping up in that role. As the confidence continues to grow with the success they’re having, Williams said it only makes this defense want to work even harder.
“Leadership is great, leadership is building every week,” Williams said. “Our team is getting better not only on Saturday, but we are getting at practice, watching film and just individually. It’s making our team come together even more.”
Williams isn’t a vocal player by nature, nor are Lawson or Adams. Because of that the middle linebacker said this group prefers to let their play do the talking.
“With our defense, there’s not much talking,” Williams said. “It’s all about how you perform. We have a lot of guys who we can look up to, lot of guys who show us that’s how you do this or that’s how you do that. We don’t have that one person who stands out of everybody. We all build up each other.”
While the group isn’t known to talk there is one really big exception, Williams’ best friend on the defense and fellow linebacker DeShaun Davis.
“Deshaun is just rare,” Williams said. “He plays with that confidence you can not only see it, but you can hear it as well.”
Confidence is something that is permeating throughout the defense right now with the group allowing just 16 points per game this season and 346.8 yards of total offense. Williams said that’s a great thing to have, but right now they are only focused on continuing to get better as a group.
“We can’t get complacent no matter who we playing,” he said. “Like I said before this is Auburn. If we don’t play the Auburn way the outcome won’t be in our favor. They continue to put into our minds that we are going to play how Auburn plays. We are going to work on ourselves and not worry about anybody else. It’s going to be in our hands.”
That will be important this Saturday evening when Auburn gets back on the field to face the Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium. A physical team led by the SEC’s leading rusher Rawleigh Williams, the Hogs want to get downhill in a hurry in the running game and Tre Williams said the Tigers have to be ready.
“They told us before the season even started we were only going to have only two or three teams that going to be that pound it team,” he said. ‘Once we play LSU we have that foundation down of what we are going to do. Now we have Arkansas, so we already know the foundation. We are going to tweak some things, but we are going to be fine.”
Auburn and Arkansas will kick off at 5 p.m. Saturday night in Jordan-Hare Stadium on ESPN.