More Experienced Carlton Davis And Auburn Defense Ready For Challenge Vs. Ole Miss

Auburn cornerback Carlton Davis says he and the Tigers are ready for another big challenge this weekend vs. Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.--If you just look at the stats you wouldn't know just how well things have gone for sophomore cornerback Carlton Davis, but often stats don’t tell the whole story for a player at his position and that’s the case with the Miami native this season.

One of the top players on defense for the Auburn Tigers, Davis has 21 tackles and leads the team with eight passes broken up. Many times people only look at interceptions when judging  how well a cornerback plays, but Coach Gus Malzahn said Davis has been better as a sophomore.

“He is a very good technician at the line of scrimmage,” Malzahn said. “He does a great job with his hands. He's long armed. Coach McGriff has done a great job coaching him. He has the ability to really lockdown a guy and take him away. He was a freshman last year, really helped him, and you can tell he's a more confident guy this year. He's really been playing well.”

Last season Davis was thrust onto the scene for the Tigers and wound up earning Freshman All-SEC honors after recording three interceptions. Now bigger and stronger, Davis said that has helped him mature as a player but the biggest change for him has come through experience.

“Experience definitely plays a part in that. The chemistry I have with my teammates, we’ve grown so much as a defense. Probably just experience; seeing things over and over again and kind of knowing what’s going to happen. That plays a lot into it.

This weekend Davis and the Auburn defense will have their hands full when they roll into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to face Chad Kelly and an Ole Miss offense that is built around throwing the football. On the year the Rebels average 305.4 yards per game through the air to lead the league, but are 13th in rushing offense at 148.8 yards per contest.

With Kelly’s running making up a good chunk of that rushing yardage, Davis said the Auburn defense can’t relax for a second against the Rebels on Saturday night.

“That’s excitement," Davis said. "We’ve faced a lot of good quarterbacks and Chad Kelly is another one. High competition is always a good thing for me to think about going into the game and motivate me throughout the week."

Making the challenge even more difficult is the size of the Ole Miss wide receivers. Tight end Evan Engram (6-3, 235) leads the team with 40 catches for 605 yards and five touchdowns, but he’s just one of many big guys Ole Miss throws to. Damore’ea Stringfellow (6-2, 219), A.J. Brown (6-1, 225), Van Jefferson (6-2, 192), Quincy Adeboyejo (6-3, 195) and DaMarkus Lodge (6-2, 190) will provide a huge challenge literally for the Tigers said Davis because Kelly will throw the ball to any one of them at any time.
“It’s definitely a different kind of challenge knowing they will take shots no matter how good the coverage is," Davis said of Kelly and the big receivers. "I see it as an opportunity for me to make something out of it. It’s really a good thing for me if quarterbacks have a lot of confidence in their receivers. It just allows me to make plays.
“I try to go in every week thinking this team is going to try to pass 300 yards," he added. "There’s no change in my preparation to prepare for a team that’s going to try to 400 yards a game. Just with Ole Miss we are going to try to do what we do. We aren’t going to alter any preparations.”


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