Dunn Discusses Keys To Defensive Success

Defensive line coach Don Dunn hopes his players will be key performers in the SEC Football Championship Game.

Auburn, Ala.--Putting the clamps on the Tennessee running game and making UT quarterback Rick Clausen throw under pressure are keys to success for the Auburn defense on Saturday.

That is the opinion of veteran defensive line coach Don Dunn, who says he believes the Auburn tackles and noseguards are excited about the challenge ahead in Saturday's SEC Football Championship Game.

"I think it is important we get pressure on Clausen," Dunn tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "He has had a couple of good games throwing the football yardage-wise. He is another left-hander, which you have to account for on his sprintouts and things like that. We have to stop the run, but I definitely think we definitely have to get pressure on him."

Auburn goes into the championship game leading the nation in scoring defense. The Tigers allowed the Vols 10 points in a regular season game in Knoxville on Oct. 2nd that Auburn won by a 24-point margin.

"The first time we played them they threw it three or four times in a row," Dunn notes. "To me Tennessee is a physical team that wants to run the football. Hopefully, we can stop the run and get after Clausen, but the key is stopping the run."

Dunn says he believes it can be difficult to play the same team twice in one season. "I think it is," he says. "The only time we have done that is when we played Florida twice (in 2000). Florida was an excellent football team and I think we played better against them the second time (in the SEC Championship Game).

"I think our kids will be up for this game," Dunn says. "I think they realize if they are not it is going to be a long night because you know that Tennessee is going to play a heck of a lot better. I know they held some kids out of the game last week and some of them will probably be back."

Coach Don Dunn

Dunn says he likes the way that the Auburn defensive front has prepared for the championship game. "Our kids have practiced hard," he says. "They have been willing to work hard. They fly around out there and have a lot of fun. It has been a great group to be around with their practice habits."

Dunn says he is particularly pleased with how senior Jay Ratliff has made the adjustment to the tackle position after playing end as a junior.

"I know Jay Ratliff is playing better," the coach says. "He is playing smarter and is more comfortable at the position. He is coming off an excellent game against Alabama. He just knocked that line of scrimmage back. We are hoping to see that continue."

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