DL Looking for Another Strong Outing

Auburn, Ala.--Last Saturday night, the Auburn defensive line played a leading role in the Tigers' 23-13 victory over Kansas State.

This Saturday night the front four is expected to be tested again as it tries to contain a talented and mobile quarterback named Matt Grothe, the star of the University of South Florida offense and a player who earned Freshman All-America honors last year. If the big guys up front on the Auburn defense can consistently pressure the USF quarterback, that will greatly enhance the home team's chances of finishing the night with a 2-0 record.

Auburn defensive line coach Don Dunn has the assignment of making sure that happens when the Tigers and Bulls kick off at approximately 8 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium in front of a national TV audience on ESPN2.

Dunn says he liked what he saw from the defensive front in game one. "I thought they played very hard," the coach tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I was very pleased with their efforts. They got a lot of good push up front. I thought they did well against the run.

"For the first game I thought they played very well, I really did," Dunn says. "I was most pleased with their effort. I thought they gave great effort the whole game."

Auburn's defensive front stayed strong for four quarters and its pressure on Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman was a big factor in Auburn rallying in the final quarter to take the victory vs. the Wildcats.

"We pride ourselves on our conditioning and we tell our guys we work harder than anybody in the country," Dunn says. "I believe we do that with Coach Yox (strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall). Coach Price (defensive ends coach Terry Price) and I always do extra running and conditioning. We make sure they run to the ball, run through the line and jog off the field after each drill. We try to build and build on that.

"After every scrimmage we keep them out extra and run them," Dunn adds. "We have gotten some negative feedback from that from some people and some of the press, but in the long run it pays off."

AU coach Don Dunn has been a part of each of Tommy Tuberville's Auburn staffs.

Although the Tigers didn't have a big night sacking the quarterback in game one, the attack on the big K-State quarterback was constant. "We didn't sack him a lot--twice, I believe--but we had a lot of pressures and hits on the quarterback," Dunn notes. "As you saw the game wear on, it wore on him and he wasn't quite as mobile as he was earlier in the game.

"Our job is to effect the quarterback and that is not always by sacks," Dunn points out. "It can be by pressures, hurries and hits and getting in his face and pushing the pocket back and keeping him contained."

Dunn says playing against a physical Kansas State team with a talented quarterback was a good test for the Tigers. "He was a very good quarterback and they were a very good football team with good speed, probably more speed than we expected," the Auburn coach says. "They are well coached and are probably going to win a lot of games.

"Every Saturday is a challenge," Dunn adds. "I don't care where you are playing and who you are playing. Just ask those guys up at Michigan and places like that."


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