Defense Shoulders Some Of The Blame

Linebacker Travis Williams and defensive tackle Wayne Dickens talk about the overtime loss to LSU.

Baton Rouge, La.-–Auburn's defense played good, but in the end it was the disappointment of not finishing things off that stuck with the Tigers as they walked off the field at Tiger Stadium after a 20-17 defeat to LSU Saturday night.

"Disappointment," senior tackle Wayne Dickens says. "We shot ourselves in the foot a lot tonight. We didn't make plays. The defense had a chance to close it out the last couple of minutes and we didn't get the job done. As a senior it's just disappointing. It's my last time playing here and I want to go out with a better memory than that. We played great, but we could have played better."

Echoing those sentiments was senior middle linebacker Travis Williams. A leader on and off the field for the Tigers, Williams says it was the defense and not kicker John Vaughn who is to blame for an overtime loss Saturday night.

Williams says the Tigers came up a little short, but played well.

"We came out and played pretty decent on defense," Williams says. "We just came up on the short end of the stick. We didn't want to give up the big play, but at the same time there were a couple of times they dropped the ball in the endzone with guys wide open. One time in the endzone going to our locker room, it was my guy wide open.

"Nobody would ever notice that because they wouldn't know the mike backer is supposed to have that guy. People notice a defensive back or a kicker messing up, but it's a total team loss. I made some mistakes as a senior mike backer and the defense made some mistakes. We played with great effort, but sometimes effort isn't enough. You've got to execute."

Playing very strong for the Tigers in the middle, Dickens had one of his better nights for the Tigers against arguably the toughest line Auburn will see this season. Despite giving up 104 yards to Joseph Addai, Dickens says he feels like the defense made a good account of itself Saturday night.

"Tonight was definitely the best offensive line we've played against all year," Dickens says. "Number 74 (Brett Helms) and number 71 (Nate Livings), I had fun down there battling with those guys tonight. It was a great experience. When we came here two years ago we got blown out. Even though we lost it's a lot better experience to take away than two years ago."

Coming into the game if you would have told Williams that Auburn would have the lead with six minutes remaining and needing a defensive stop, he would have taken that all day long. That was exactly the circumstance Saturday night as Auburn held a three-point lead only to see LSU drive down and kick the game-tying field goal late in regulation. Williams says that the game was a matter of a play here or there and Auburn came up short.

"We've got a lot of courage and a lot of fight to us," Williams says. "Sometimes it comes down to one or two plays. We just came up short. We went up 17-14 and let them drive and get the field goal. Sometimes the defense plays good for the whole game, but you've got to step up when you need to step up."

Now the Tigers will try to regroup as they face Ole Miss next Saturday at home. Williams says he knows he'll hear a lot about this game in the coming days, but he also notes there's one thing he better not hear or he'll get very, very upset.

"It's a team effort," Williams says. "When I leave here any family member or anyone at school shouldn't bring up the kicker's name or I'm going to get in trouble. It wasn't his fault. Anybody that comes to me and says anything about the kicker, it's going to be pretty bad because it wasn't his fault."


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