Pleased But Not Close To Satisfied

This Auburn assistant coach says there is plenty of room for improvement on the Auburn defense even though it is ranked among the national leaders.

Auburn, Ala.--Defensive line coach Don Dunn appreciated the effort and the overall results on Saturday night, but is not satisfied with the play of Auburn's defensive line.

Dunn, who worked at Tennessee as a young graduate assistant coach, thoroughly enjoyed Auburn's 34-10 SEC victory over the Volunteers in a showdown of Top 10 teams. However, on Sunday afternoon he was putting his players through a tougher than normal workout back on the practice field as the Tigers began preparations for Louisiana Tech.

"We have got a lot of room to improve--tons of room to improve," Dunn says. "Probably the biggest disappointment for Coach Price (defensive ends coach Terry Price) and myself was our pass rush. We put pressure on both of them (quarterbacks Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer), but we didn't finish the play.

"One time we had him wrapped up and he threw the ball. Another time we miss him. We lose contain. We don't get our hands up at certain times. When we did one time, Wayne (defensive tackle Wayne Dickens) tipped the ball and we got an interception. We have got to get a combination of guys who can rush the passer.

"Right now I am disappointed in our pass rush," Dunn adds. "We got one sack. I don't worry about the sacks. I worry about stopping the run, but we have to protect our secondary and linebackers. We let him run around back there and our secondary and linebackers did a great job of staying in coverage. That is hard to do when you have a guy like Schaeffer running all over the place."

Auburn, which is 5-0 overall, will take on Louisiana Tech, which is 3-2 after its 28-21 victory over Fresno State on Saturday night. The Tigers and the Bulldogs will square off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn's homecoming game.

Dunn wants to use this week to become better in several areas on the defensive front. "The biggest disappointment right now, and the thing we have got to work on, is we have to improve our tackling," the coach says. "We missed some tackles. We gave up 70-something yards after contact vs. Tennessee. We need to keep on working and stay humble."

Don Dunn works with Tez Doolittle in practice.

Despite Dunn's concerns, the Tigers allowed the league's top-rated offense just one touchdown and that was aided by a highly questionable offensive pass interference call. Overall, the Tiger defenders did a solid job of controlling the Tennessee ground game and never let the Volunteer quarterbacks get into a rhythm passing the football.

"We knew if we didn't stop the run, it was going to be a long, long day," Dunn says. "They were a team that ran a lot of double-teams, especially on the power play, which was their number one play. We emphasized that you have got to hold those double-teams, hold your gap and eventually try to split it. I thought they did a great job of that. Very few times were we out of position with that type of block."

"Gene Chizik does the best job of anybody I have ever been around about getting people in the right positions," Dunn says of the Auburn defensive coordinator. "He is a real stickler, as all of us are, on gap control and proper fit. You just have got to sell them to play within the defense and don't try to do something that you are not supposed to do. If you have got B gap, you have to stay in B gap and control B gap.

"Looking at some of the teams Tennessee had played, they had good athletes but they were all over the place," Dunn notes. "They were in the wrong gaps, the wrong fits. Coach Chizik and the coaches talked all week, if we would stay in the frame of our defense we will be fine. We have got to stop the run up front and we can't give up the deep ball. That is what we preached all week and the kids pretty much followed the game plan."


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