One of the starters in that group, junior defensive tackle Pat Sims, has won praise from the Auburn coaching staff for his performances against Kansas State and South Florida, the first two starts of his college career.
The defensive tackle took a blow to an elbow in game two, but says that he will be ready to go for the SEC opener. "It was just the normal bumps and bruises you get playing on the defensive line," he notes.
Sims says he believes the defensive front is the best he has seen since he has been on the Auburn campus. "We have a lot of talent with Quentin (end Quentin Groves), me, Josh (noseguard Josh Thompson), Sen (end/tackle SenDerrick Marks) and some young boys like Carter (end Antoine Carter), Goggans (end Michael Goggans) and big Jake (noseguard Jermarcus Ricks). We have got some players who can come out and do their thing."
Pat Sims is shown at last season's Auburn victory over Florida.
Sims predicts the defense and the entire team will bounce back following a disappointing 26-23 overtime loss to South Florida in which the defense was continually put in tough situations with the offense turning the ball over five times. "That is in the past," the defensive tackle says. "Now we are moving on to Mississippi State. As a defense I thought we played good with a lot of effort. We put the fire out as many times as we needed to, but we just came up short."
The former Dillard High standout from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., predicts the defense will improve throughout the season. "We have only played two games," he says. "Each game the defense is going to get better and better. Everybody just watch out for us."
Pat Sims improved last spring and in two-a-days solidified his spot as a starter at defensive tackle.
Based on the first two games, the defense is likely to play well as the Tigers open SEC play in a game that will be televised regionally at 11:30 a.m. on LFS. The big question is will the Tigers, who have scored just three offensive touchdowns this season, play better on that side of the football in game three.
Sims says predicts that will happen. "I think the offense is taking steps forward," he says. "I am looking forward to everybody getting better and coming out and getting a big win in the SEC. We have to work hard to get ready for this game and we are doing that."