Auburn, Ala.--Despite the losses of Montravius Adams, Carl Lawson, Maurice Swain and Devaroe Lawrence off the defensive line, there is still plenty of optimism up front for the Auburn Tigers and freshman defensive lineman Derrick Brown is one of the reasons why.
Playing in all 13 games this past season, Brown made 11 tackles and add a sack and one and a half tackles for a loss while playing both tackle and end for Coach Rodney Garner.
The numbers aren’t overwhelming for Brown, but watching a 6-5, 315-pounder show the quickness and athleticism to be able to slide out to defensive end is what has people around the program expecting big things for the big lineman.
As for Brown himself, he said that having the opportunity to learn from the veterans that he was surrounded by this past year has him hungry to get back on the field and work to improve his craft.
“I’m definitely working my way into the process,” Brown said. “Learning from Mon was definitely good for me and learning from Carl and Swain and Devaroe, that was big for me. Next year I feel like I can elevate my game.”
That's what he's looking for out of the entire defense following a disappointing finish to the season against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Not living up to the standards they set during the year, Brown said the performance leaves them with a sour taste in their mouths.
“We played a lot of snaps, but at the end of the day it’s a team thing," he said. "We just didn’t get it done together. The better team came out on top. We just have to work harder in the offseason and go on to the next year.”
Going into next year Brown is expected to move back inside to a full-time defensive tackle position and with his combination of size and quickness that should be a good fit for the Tigers alongside veterans Dontavius Russell and Andrew Williams. With Antwuan Jackson stepping into the rotation as well following a redshirt year, Auburn should again have some solid depth across the front. That could mean moving around for Brown if needed, something he said he'll do if it means getting victories.
“I’m just doing whatever Coach (Kevin) Steele and Coach G have me doing," Brown said. "I’m just looking forward to developing as a player and helping my team.”