Auburn Senior Tackles His New Role

Auburn, Ala.--Unless one of his teammates has a huge performance in Auburn's bowl game, Will Herring will lead the Tigers in tackles again this season.

Following his eight-tackle performance in Auburn's fifth-straight victory over Alabama on Saturday, Herring tops the Tigers with 65 total stops this season for the 10-2 Tigers, including 54 solo tackles from his strongside linebacker spot.

Last year Herring led the Tigers with 69 total tackles in his third year as a starter at free safety. As a sophomore he was second on the team with 61 tackles and as a redshirt freshman he was sixth in tackles with 46.

Karibi Dede, another linebacker, is next with 56 tackles this season, including 43 solo. Safeties Aairon Savage with 48 tackles and Eric Brock with 45 are third and fourth for the Tigers.

Herring has nine tackles for lost yardage, which is second on the team behind 12 tackles for losses by Quentin Groves. Herring is tied with cornerback David Irons and Brock for the team lead in interceptions with two.

"Will has been a big part of our defense this season," says defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who notes that he appreciates the senior's willingness to change positions for the good of the team. "He plays hard all of the time, he is a smart player and it is important for him for the team to have success. He is a pleasure to coach."

While the individual numbers are nice, Herring says, what he will remember is being a four-year starter and finishing with at least 40 career victories, which is a school record.

"Beating Alabama again and getting our 40th win is obviously a huge way and a great way for the seniors to go out," Herring says. "It is just a huge honor coming here five years ago and seeing the program improve. It has been a huge blessing to come to a program like this and play for the Auburn family.

"By no means are we (seniors) taking the responsibility (for Auburn's success)," Herring adds. "The Big Man upstairs has blessed this senior class and the entire team the last five years. There have been a lot of guys, a lot of players and coaches who put in the work in the offseason who helped us get to where we are."

Herring and his teammates have the week off from classes and practice with Auburn out of session for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Herring forced his second fumble of the season in the 22-15 victory over Alabama and that big play came in the fourth quarter one down after fellow senior, tailback Kenny Irons, committed Auburn's only turnover of the game as he lost a fumble while looking for running room.

"It was unfortunate that our offense made a turnover, but they don't call us firemen for no reason," Herring says of the defense. "We were able to come in there and put out the fire. The receiver (Keith Brown) caught a ball over the middle and I was able to get my hand in there and make a rip at it and knock the ball out.

"Our guys were running the to the ball and when that happens good things are going to happen," Herring adds. "We had about three guys jumping on the fumble so they weren't getting the ball back."

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