New Orleans, La.--One of the key figures for Auburn’s defensive turnaround in 2016, senior tackle Montravius Adams has one more opportunity to play collegiately for the Tigers when they face Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 in New Orleans.
Making 39 tackles in 12 games with with four and a half sacks, eight and a half tackles for losses, two fumble recoveries and an interception, Adams has put together his most productive season as a Tiger and he said it is due to an improved work ethic.
“Really, just taking everything more seriously and trying to get better at my craft, taking coaching, taking notice, watching film,” he said of what he is doing better. “Really, doing all the little things, the fundamentals of the game.”
Adams along with fellow senior Maurice Swain and even junior Carl Lawson are soaking it all in with this likely the last time they will suit up for the Tigers. Playing alongside Adams and Lawson and learning a lot from both of them in his three years at Auburn, redshirt sophomore Dontavius Russell said it's bittersweet heading into this game.
"I came in the year after them so it was more that we were close," Russell said. "There was a lot of stuff I could just ask them, especially my first year playing. Last year I could ask Mon in certain situations what I should do and what I could do to get better at certain things. He would always help me out with that type of stuff."
Those little things and situations are just what this Auburn defense will need to focus on against an Oklahoma offense that is one of the best in the country. With Heisman finalists Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook combining to form perhaps the top throw-and-catch duo in the country, Adams said it is going to be a challenge to limit big plays.
“He is kind of known for taking the top off of coverages," Adams said. "For us, we are kind of known for not letting people do that so that's a challenge for the defensive backs. Then again, it's a challenge for the D-line, making sure we get a lot of pass rush.”
Last season the Auburn defense put together a great performance in a bowl win that carried over into this season, something Adams said could do much of the same for the guys heading into 2017 if they could earn a victory over a 10-win Oklahoma team. “It would be real important for the seniors, a great game to be in, a great bowl to be in,, but at the end of the day it will set up the guys next year for success.”
No matter what happens the former five-star signee can leave Auburn with his held held high. Earning All-SEC and All-American honors as a senior, Adams said his time on the Plains has been one he’ll remember fondly and he’s hoping to leave on a high note.
“It's really been fun,” Adams said. “For me it's more about brotherhood, just having fun, for this is the last time with my brothers. It's just having fun, but still being focused on our main goal of winning the Sugar Bowl.
“Really I just want to go out and have a great game," he added. "I just want to leave my lasting impression for Auburn and all the defensive linemen coming in after me. At the end of the day your last game, you’ll never get that back in college. I think it’s real important and I’m just ready to play.”