Q&A With Auburn Linebacker Karibi Dede

Linebacker Karibi Dede talks about Auburn's defensive performance in the season opener and what the Tigers need to do to improve.

After having a chance to watch the video and dissect it, how do you feel the defense performed Saturday night?

"To me it's kind of a two-way thing. On the first hand, looking back it's hard to swallow because of the mistakes we made. We didn't have major, big mistakes. We had little small mistakes, a lot like Coach (Tommy) Tuberville said. The second thing is that I'm real excited because I can see this defense has potential. Potential doesn't amount to anything until you make it happen, but it has the potential to do great things."

Is the performance of the defense after the first quarter something to build on heading into this week's game?

"It was a new situation for a lot of people. It was a new situation for the players under a new coordinator, getting a feel for what he's going to call in what situations. He calls his game a little bit differently than (Gene) Chizik called in the red zone. Maybe on third and short it might be a different call. It's a new feel, so you have to get your feel for it.

"At the same time he's got to get a feel for us as players and what we're most comfortable running in certain situations. It is a new feel and we found our way more in the second half.

"We've also got a couple of new guys and new pieces just working with new people in different positions. The strongside end last year was Bret Eddins and also Doug Langenfeld. This year we have ‘Q' (Quentin Groves) and we have Gunn (Marquies Gunn). I'm a sam backer and you have to learn to work with your strongside ends. Getting a new guy there we have to work together. All in all, once the game got going along and Coach Gibbs got a feel for us, we got a feel for him and each other we started to tighten down a little bit. It's tough that we had to give up a ballgame to figure that out, but it's behind us and we're moving forward now."

Dede is capable of playing all three linebacker spots for the Tigers.

You talked about getting to know the player in front of you. Describe to the average fan how important that is for the players to know what each other is doing on the field?

"It's critical, especially in the defense we run. We use zone blitzes where sometimes you drop a defensive lineman. The communication comes between those two guys, say for instance the strongside backer and strongside end. Say it's two of us versus two of them. One guy might break out and the other guy might break in. And they may cross on the way to do it. We have to figure out who is going to take the outside guy and who is going to take the inside guy. It's a trust factor.

"If my guy heads outside and his guy heads inside, then I have to be able to trust that he's going to pick that guy up in order for me to let him go and pick his guy up. It's just working it and getting repetitions doing it. It's little small things that you have to get on the same page with."

What is the defense working on heading into the Mississippi State game because you'll face a similar offense from the Bulldogs that you saw out of Georgia Tech?

"There are some similarities with the teams. This is a real good running back (Jerious Norwood) we're getting ready to go against. This running back is a different style of runner than P. J. Daniels, but never the less he's a good running back. This quarterback (Omarr Conner) he's also a little bit different style than (Reggie) Ball, although they're both mobile guys.

"I think overall the scheme is going to be a little bit different based on the things they've run so far. They've got similar things because when you've got a mobile quarterback there are certain things you do. You run bootlegs and you run sprintouts and that kind of stuff. I think mainly this week we're going to prepare in the film room. That's what is going to make this difference."

Early in the game it appeared that Georgia Tech was able to cut back on running plays for yardage. Did you, as a group of linebackers, have to tell yourselves to slow down or was it just a matter of everyone not being on the same page?

"Just speaking for the linebackers, we know we can elevate our play. For me, I just have to say as a group and we've talked amongst ourselves because we're a tight knit group, we don't feel like we played anywhere close to what we're capable of playing.

"As far as where the ball hits as far as cutting back, it's the whole defense. We're kind of a gap control defense. Sometimes it might look like a linebacker, but it's a defensive lineman. It might look like a defensive lineman and be a linebacker. It might look like a linebacker and be a safety. What it is, is that you all play as one. Really the defensive line is what makes us be able to run and tackle, them holding up the linemen. It's a unity thing."

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