Great Expectations Turning Into Results

Senior defensive tackle Wayne Dickens talks about Saturday's win over South Carolina and the improvement in his game since the first game.

Auburn, Ala.--As the Auburn defense keeps getting better, so does Wayne Dickens. The senior defensive tackle played a huge role in Auburn's 48-7 blowout win over South Carolina as the defense yielded just under 200 yards.

"I feel like we're rolling now," Dickens says. "That first game we had a lot of young guys playing and first-time starters. I think those games early were perfect for the team we had. We didn't have many huge games other than that Tech game.

"Now I think everybody is confident and they know what they're doing out on the field," he adds. "They're not freshman anymore out there. I think we've finally got the ball rolling this week."

Dickens moves in for the tackle against a South Carolina player Saturday night.

Dickens recorded five tackles, one of which was for a loss, and forced a fumble which he recovered as Auburn held South Carolina to a mere 70 yards rushing on 28 attempts.

"The lord is just blessing me, number one, and I've been staying in the film room during the week," he says. "I've been playing off T.J. (noseguard Tommy Jackson) and the rest of the defensive line. A couple of my tackles they ran right into me. I'm not doing anything different, just trying to be more focused."

Dickens and Jackson were just two of several Auburn defenders who led the charge up front in the dominating defensive performance. Columbia, S.C., native Travis Williams had 11 tackles, five behind the line of scrimmage, while Marquies Gunn had seven tackles, four of which were behind the line.

Although Dickens is playing the best ball of his career at this point, he says much of his success comes from playing along side several talented teammates.

"They can't double team me because if they do, they've got T.J. one-on-one," Dickens says. "T.J. one-on-one with anybody is a loss for them. Just playing next to him is great because I'm getting one on one blocking in the passing game and I'm getting pressure.

"Then I've got Stanley (Stanley McClover), Quentin (Quentin Groves) and Marquies Gunn coming off the ends," he adds. "Part of my play is just a byproduct of those guys playing great, too."

Since giving up 23 points in the opener to Tech, the Auburn defense has not yielded any first-half points. The Tigers managed to blank Mississippi State, but in games against Ball State and Western Kentucky the hope for a shutout was ended in the second half against the Auburn reserves. That was once again the case Saturday night as South Carolina got on the scoreboard with just 6:14 remaining in the game.

"Oh man, I think that's what, the third one we missed?" Dickens ponders. "We've got to get another one. It's frustrating, but the young guys are coming along. They'll be able to close the deal later in the season for us."

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