Auburn, Ala.--When you look at Auburn's defense the first thing that stands out to you is the number of newcomers getting considerable playing time for the Tigers. While the defense does feature seniors such as Will Herring, Karibi Dede, David Irons Chris Browder and Marquies Gunn and several other veterans, the bulk of the unit is still relatively inexperienced.
That was evident on Saturday against Buffalo as the Bulls ground out some impressive yardage on the Tigers early. Of the 198 total yards on the day for Buffalo 76 came in the first quarter. That's something that can't happen this week as the Tigers face a dangerous South Carolina offense.
Redshirt freshman Sen'Derrick Marks is one of the youngsters performing well for the Tigers on defense this season. He says that Saturday was a wake-up call for the young players on the defense because now they know you have to come to play every game at this level or you're asking for trouble.
"You go out against teams like this and you know you're supposed to beat them," Marks says. "You just take them lightly and don't prepare like you prepare for other teams. They came in and played harder than they thought we would. I think we have a good football team we just prepared wrong for this team. We didn't prepare like we thought we would. Next week we know we've got a good team so hopefully we'll prepare well."
Marks gets the sack against Buffalo Saturday.
One of the top performers this season for the Tigers on the defensive line, Marks added three tackles and a sack against Buffalo to his already impressive totals this season. In four games Marks leads the Tigers with three and a half sacks and four tackles for losses. He says that so far he's doing well but he's got a lot of things to improve on before he's satisfied.
"I believe I have been playing pretty good," Marks says. "I don't think I have been playing to my best abilities, I do some things that I go back and look and say ‘I should have done this' and I would have made the play. I believe I have been doing real good. I'm starting on the defensive line as a redshirt freshman. I have my weight and my speed and my strength up so I believe I'm doing real good."
An old school player that believes in hard work to get the job done, Marks isn't concerned with how he's perceived on the field of play. Part of that goes back to his recruitment when most teams looked him over when combing Mobile for talent. Auburn wasn't one of those teams though. They saw a lot to like in the lunch pail Marks and he continues that style to this day.
"I don't like to wear anything," Marks says. "I don't even wear gloves. I just go out and play. I'm old school. I have to step my game up and start looking good too. They tell me I look ‘stankin' out there. I have to step my game up out there and try to look fancy but I just line up and play football."
Marks along with key performers such as Aairon Savage, Antonio Coleman, Jerraud Powers and Patrick Trahan will take to the road this week for just the second time in their careers. Thursday night's game against South Carolina will be huge for the Tigers after just five days between games and the win over LSU still looming large on the schedule. Marks says this week it was tough to get over that huge game but now that Buffalo is behind them they'll take it as a lesson learned and move forward.
"I noticed that it's real hard when you come off a big win and then play a team you're supposed to beat," Marks says. "A lot of people are still patting you on the back from the big win against LSU and you don't focus and play as well for a team like Buffalo. I think we learned a lot about focusing on every game. No matter who you play you've got to play them like you play everybody else. We learned a lot from this one."