Evans Coming Through for Tiger Defense

Linebacker Chris Evans talks about his play this season and getting ready to face Arkansas.

Auburn, Ala.--For Auburn junior linebacker Chris Evans, the 2007 season has been one to remember. After making a strong push in spring practice, Evans figured he would be counted on in a backup role this year, but instead he has been forced to the forefront and has responded in a big way.

"Coming into this season I didn't really know I was going to play," Evans says. "Last year I played one or two games and that was it. I just had to take advantage of this opportunity."

Leading the Auburn team in tackles with 35 this season along with adding an interception, Evans has been huge for the Tigers with projected starters Tray Blackmon and Merrill Johnson injured for the bulk of the first half of the year. Even though there is a chance one or both could return this week, Evans says he is still preparing to busy Saturday night in Fayetteville.

"I don't think it changes the way I approach the game," Evans says. "Any way you look at it you've got to go out and get it done.

"We just have to see when that comes," Evans adds. "They are some great linebackers. Just being in competition with them is good for me."

Playing essentially every snap on defense this season for the Tigers with the exception of the second half against New Mexico State and the fourth quarter against Vanderbilt, Evans has been an iron man for Coach James Willis at the position. That's a far cry from his position last year with the team and made him re-evaluate his purpose on the team and his work ethic.

"Last year I didn't really know what the future held for me," Evans says. "I just came out this year and tried to give it everything I had. So far it's working out good for me.

"What's different is I'm really taking coaching now," he adds. "I'm trying to learn everything I need to know so I can make all the checks I need to make. I would say the biggest thing is me taking coaching."

Not a highly touted signee coming out of Blount High in Prichard, Evans has taken baby steps in his first three seasons, but has come on strong in year number four. While many didn't expect much out of the undersized linebacker, Evans says even though he's done well this season it's still not as much as he expects from himself.

"I would say it's not really satisfying yet because we all set goals for ourselves," Evans says. "When you come to Auburn University on a scholarship you are expected to make plays and play real good. It's just expected of you if you're on scholarship."

Chris Evans has taken advantage of his opportunity for expanded playing time and won praise from Tommy Tuberville and linebacker coach James Willis.

This week Evans and Auburn's defense will face perhaps their toughest challenge of the season against the powerful ground game of Arkansas. Averaging 338.4 yards per game rushing led by the duo of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, Evans says the Hogs will be tough, but as a player it's something you look forward to because it tests you against the best.

"They've got some great running backs," Evans says. "I just can't wait to play against two running backs of that caliber. I'm just ready to play. Week in and week out that's how the coaches tell us to approach the game. You've just got to stay ready, especially this week with McFadden and Felix Jones."

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