Stevens Preparing for High-Scoring Gators

One of Auburn's young linebacker comments on the AU defense and this week's road trip to Florida Field.

Auburn, Ala.--After making a season-high six tackles vs. New Mexico State, linebacker Craig Stevens says he is looking forward to the challenge of playing fourth-ranked Florida on Saturday night in Gainesville.

"I have been looking forward to this for a long time," the redshirt freshman from Tallahassee, Fla., says. "I have got a lot of buddies who play for the Gators. We will go down there and get reunited. We have got to go down there and get that victory first."

Stevens notes that two of his "close friends," linebackers Dustin Doe and A.J. Jones, play for the Gators, who are ranked fourth and third this week in the major polls. Jones, a 6-1, 211 redshirt freshman from Middleton High in Tampa, Fla., is the starting strongside linebacker for the Gators and Doe, a 6-0, 223 sophomore from Live Oak High in Suwanee, Fla., starts at weakside linebacker.

"They have a lot of playmakers, I am not going to lie to you," Stevens says of the UF offense. "They have Tebow (QB Tim Tebow) running who we have got to stop. We have got to stop Harvin (receiver Percy Harvin). Then they bring in (receiver) Brandon James a couple of times and try to get him to the edge. He is pretty good."

Florida, which is 4-0 overall and 2-2 in the SEC, is nearly a three TD favorite for Saturday night's game at Florida Field that will be televised on ESPN. The Tigers are 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the SEC and have struggled on offense.

"I think people are overlooking us to tell you the truth because of how we started," Stevens says. "That will give us the perfect opportunity to come in there and get the upset."

Craig Stevens lists to his position coach, James Willis.

The Auburn linebacker says to win the game the Tigers will have to handle what he calls the best all-around offense his team has faced this year. He says that he believes the AU defense has been playing solid football in the first four outings.

"I think I have been doing pretty well, especially with the offenses we have been going against," Stevens says. "Everybody has been running these spread offenses. We just have to improve a little more and we will take it up from being a good defense to a great defense."

Stevens says the key for Auburn's defense this week will be to make the Gators one-dimensional. "Just stop the run is what we need to do," he says. "If we do that everything else will fall into place.

The redshirt freshman notes that his position coach, former Tiger star James Willis, has been telling him all week that this is a big SEC game so he needs to practice at a high tempo. Stevens also notes that defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is fired up about the game, too. "With Coach Muschamp, you know he is always excited. He told us this is the SEC, we just have to hit it."

Kickoff time is shortly after 7 p.m. CDT with television coverage on ESPN as the Gators try to win their 12th straight game since losing 27-17 at Auburn last year.


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