DeShaun Davis (above) is shown in action during Auburn's spring game.
Auburn, Ala.--The leading tackler for the Blue squad in Auburn's annual A-Day football scrimmage said he is encouraged with what he is seeing from his linebacker group.
DeShaun Davis, a redshirt junior, made four solo tackles and two assists for the Blue team, which featured the first defense playing against the number two offense. He added a sack and another tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
“I feel like we had a great spring,” Davis said of the linebackers.
“One of the things that Coach (Kevin) Steele and Coach T-Will (Travis Williams) preached to us all spring is that they wanted us to be the anchor of the defense,” he said. “I feel like every day we came out and accepted the challenge, and we got better and better each day.”
The Tigers finished spring drills on Tuesday evening with their 15th practice, a light workout in shorts reviewing what they learned in the previous practices.
Asked what he will be working on during the offseason to get ready for the 2017 opener vs. Georgia Southern, Davis said, “I am just trying to be a leader on and off the field. I feel like the things on the field, playing in the system all of the accolades and tackles will come by playing consistently.
“What I want to do is help mold the young guys and be that vocal leader to get everybody lined up so we can play fast,” he added.
A key to success for any group of linebackers is the play of the defensive line to give the linebackers room to run to the football. The Tigers have to replace starting tackle Montravius Adams and two backups at tackle as well as starting buck end, Carl Lawson. Both were key players for the 2016 defense playing for position coach Rodney Garner.
Davis said he likes what he saw from the group in spring drills. “Coach Garner is on those guys every day and you can see them getting better. It is good when you see guys like Paul James, who is battling a knee injury and comes out in the spring game just blazing. Jeff Holland has been holding his own. Byron Cowart has been getting better.
“Marlon (Davidson) is going to be Marlon. Derrick Brown is getting better. Dontavius (Russell) has always been good. We have countless amounts of guys who can get in and make plays.”
In addition to Davis, the Tigers return two other linebackers with significant starting experience with Tre Williams heading into his senior year and Darrell Williams a junior.
Tre Williams finished the 2016 season with 67 tackles, second on the team behind safety Tray Matthews. Davis was third with 63 stops and Darrell Williams was sixth in tackles with 52.