Brock: Tigers "Coming Together As a Defense"

Senior safety Eric Brock talks about the play of Auburn's defense and the challenge of facing LSU.

Auburn, Ala.--Coming off one of the best defensive performances in recent Auburn history in a 9-7 victory over Arkansas, the Tigers have another tough test coming up this week as they travel to LSU to face the Bengal Tigers in a huge SEC Western Division matchup.

This game will feature two of the country's top defenses and two solid running games. LSU averages 230 rushing yards per game, making the Tigers one of the best in the SEC in that category. Just last week Auburn faced the top-ranked running attack featuring the Arkansas duo of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones and shut them down to the tune of 67 total yards on the ground. Senior safety Eric Brock says it was a total team effort that got the job done.

"Everybody said we were going to come in there with attitude and effort the whole night," Brock says. "For the most part we shut down their running game. That was really the focal point of our defense. We wanted to stop the run because last year they ran up and down the field on us and did a good job.

"The front seven and eight played so well that I really didn't have to do much," Brock points out. "Last year I made a lot of tackles, but this year was the polar opposite. They did a great job."

Last season Arkansas ran for 279 yards as the Razorbacks ran away from Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium. That memory is something that Brock says remained with the Tiger defense as they got ready to face the Hogs and their running attack.

"We were well aware of what happened last year and believe us, we remembered the feeling," Brock says. "That's what we tried to tell the guys, to remember the feeling of last year. We came in with a chip on our shoulder. Any time you play on the road in the SEC it's going to be tough no matter who you play. That's the attitude we take and we just came out and played well.

"I'm not sure how many yards McFadden had, but I think we shut him down pretty good. Whenever you stop a guy with that much talent to under 50 yards that's not just one player on defense, that's all 11 and the guys that come in as subs. It was a great job the way our coaches prepared us. They had us reading the right keys. That helps a lot when you know what you're doing and you're flying around playing football. That's exactly what we did."

The Arkansas game was just another in a string of confidence-boosting games for Coach Will Muschamp's defense. Despite playing without three starters and relying on young players to get the job done at key positions, the Tigers have allowed just 31 points in three games and against three of the best offensive teams they've seen this season. Brock says it's a credit to Muschamp and the young players that have grown up this year on the field.

"I think as each week goes by our younger guys are starting to get the feel for the game and develop confidence in themselves," Brock says. "We have guys every week that are nicked up and banged up. We just have somebody step up each and every week for us. That's special when you see a team come together like we're coming together now.

"I'm just extremely proud of a lot of guys now who are stepping up and understanding their roles on the team. Right now we're on a roll. We know the challenge ahead of us is tough. We're going to be ready and I'm pretty sure LSU will be ready as well.

"We know LSU is a completely different team (than Arkansas)," he adds. "They'll throw it just as much as they run it. They've got a lot of weapons. You can't just key on one or two guys, you pretty much have to hold everybody down. They are a good offense and really just a good team over all."

Eric Brock celebrates Auburn's 7-3 victory over LSU last season. He made the final tackle on the Auburn four-yard line that preserved AU's victory over LSU.

Making things even better for the Auburn defense is the return to form of players such as Tray Blackmon, Merrill Johnson and Aairon Savage as well as the improving health of Quentin Groves. Brock says it feels good to finally be getting closer to full strength on defense for the first time since the opening half of the first game of the season.

"It's exciting to know that we're getting all of our guys back," Brock says. "Tray Blackmon came in and it was good to see him back after all his struggles. To see him out there flying around and having fun was great. When you've got those guys playing well like that it's just a joy.

"I think we're coming together as a defense. Coach Muschamp and the defensive staff is doing a great job of preparing us. They're really calling the right schemes for the game. Every week we have to adjust to the other team's offense and he's doing a great job of getting us ready for that."


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