Thompson: "We've Got To Improve"

Auburn noseguard Josh Thompson talks about Auburn's Saturday night game vs. the Florida Gators.

Auburn, Ala.--Last week's 27-10 loss to Arkansas was a total team effort as all three phases of the game weren't good enough for the Tigers. While all phases had disappointing moments, the defensive problems against the run had to be the most troubling.

They definitely were for junior defensive lineman Josh Thompson. One of Auburn's more experienced defensive players, Thompson knows that the first job of an Auburn defense is to stop the run and that didn't happen last week.

The Tigers have a chance at redemption against a tough Florida Gator team and Thompson says the week has been a positive one for the defense.

"I think we're kind of upbeat," Thompson says. "We don't want to let the seniors down again and we don't want to feel a loss again."

Thompson sacks Alex Brink from Washington State in the season opener.

Facing an offense that uses multiple formations and motion to confuse the defense, Thompson says the best thing Auburn can do to counteract that is to be simple and physical. That means knowing assignments and playing hard. It all begins with one basic fundamental that is a must when facing an offense like Florida's.

"We definitely have to get lined up right," Thompson says. "That's a big thing. We have to fill the gaps right and everybody has to fit in their position. That's half the battle."

"They have every formation possible, really," he adds. "You just have to be in the right place at the right time and know what you are doing. It's a little hard to deal with, but hopefully we can deal with it."

In this game a big challenge for Auburn will be to contain Florida's two-headed quarterback system of Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. While Leak is more of the traditional pocket passer and occasional runner, Tebow is a completely different type of quarterback who is physical and likes to run the football. Thompson says because of that the Tigers will make sure to pay attention of when number 15 goes into the game.

"We're definitely noticing that and I think everybody notices that," Thompson says. "He's a huge quarterback that basically runs it every time he's in there, not every time, but most of the time. We'll definitely be noticing that."

While the skill players get all the attention, quietly Florida's offensive line has become a solid group despite returning just one starter this season. Thompson says that the unit is impressive and Urban Meyer does some things to make their life easier in such a sophisticated offense.

"They're pretty good and they do stuff to complement the offensive line," Thompson says. "They just have a good offensive scheme going and a good offensive team. Their line is as good as any we've seen this year."

That might not be good news for a defense that has not gotten better after solid performances in games one, two and three. Peaking in a victory over LSU, the Tigers began to show some cracks in the armor in a win over Buffalo.

The following week against South Carolina even more problems showed up and they all came together in the loss to Arkansas. Thompson says that their poor play last week has the Tigers itching to show the world they're better than their last outing.

"We've got to improve for sure," says Thompson, who adds, "Definitely, we're going to come back and try our hardest this week to get things straight."

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