Auburn, Ala.--Veteran linebackers DeShaun Davis and Tre Williams have known each other since they were four years old growing up in the Mobile area. That bond has made them close friends on and off the field and now has them working in the same direction as the Auburn Tigers get into spring practices under second-year coordinator Kevin Steele and position Coach Travis Williams.
Focusing on leadership and helping the young guys progress as players in the defense, both Davis and Williams said the biggest thing going for Auburn this spring is having the same coordinator and scheme to build on for the first time since they arrived on the Plains.
“Man, it’s really, really different,” Davis said. ‘When you come in this spring you don’t have to learn new terminology and new plays and get the vibe for a new coach. It’s really about time we’ve had the same defensive coordinator.
“The first three days I feel like everyone is really comfortable and by the older guys already knowing what the guys expect, we said it last year that we’re just trying to stack on top of things. “Last year’s defense was last year’s defense and we’ve already made that clear. That house has already been built and sold as Coach Steele would say. What we’re trying to do now is built our own legacy for the 2017 defense.”
Working under Ellis Johnson and Will Muschamp the first two years before Steele took over last spring, Williams said just getting to start ahead of the curve has been huge for him and the older guys because it allows them to be an extra coach on the field.
“It felt great just going into the spring with confidence and just able to teach the young guys what we’ve been doing all year last year,” Williams said. “And just trying to you know, we’ve still got a lot of things to work on as the older guys like technique and everything, so we get to move forward instead of trying to learn a new defense and work on our technique. We’re able to progress easier.”
Finishing second and third on the team in tackles last season, combining for 130 stops for the Tigers, Davis and Williams both said the experience of having a full year under their belts has been big for them as they prepare to take their games and the defense to another level.
“It gives us an easier role being a leader because you know we already know the defense, so we can teach those young guys that, but as far as technique-wise they can just watch how we do it,” the senior said. “Then they can go in and do it, and if they do something wrong it’s easier to coach them up while T-Will coaches somebody else up. We’re able to coach somebody. It works both ways.”