Stevens Talks Defense And Offense

Auburn's Craig Stevens talks about the defensive performance against Southern Miss and what he saw out of the Tigers' offense.

Auburn, Ala.--Entering Saturday's game with Southern Miss, one of the keys for victory for the Auburn Tigers was how the defense would handle the powerful running game for the Golden Eagles led by Damion Fletcher. After holding them to just 37 yards, almost 400 yards below their first game total, sophomore linebacker Craig Stevens said the key was everyone doing their job.

"I think it was just execution," Stevens said. "We came in focused. We weren't focused on just playing good as a whole, everybody was focused on doing their job. We knew if we did that we would play great as a whole. I think it worked out well.

"Our goal was to go in and keep them off the scoreboard," Stevens added. "We couldn't do that. I think we still did good though, holding them under 40 yards rushing. If we keep that up we'll go a long way."

Just how far the Tigers go may depend on how well the offense continues to improve from week to week. Playing much better in week two, particularly in the passing game, Tony Franklin's offense still sputtered at times with two turnovers inside the red zone in the first half the biggest mistakes of the day. Stevens said he was glad to see the offense come to life against Southern Miss.

"They did great the first half taking it up and down the field," Stevens said. "If we would have punched them in the score might have been ugly. I know they'll continue to get better and we'll do good in the long run."

Stevens and the Auburn defense know all too well how good Auburn's offense is when it's clicking as they got the worse end of several showdowns in preseason practices. After watching the offense show signs of what they had seen during the spring and early fall, Stevens said it gave the defense a lift and he's looking for even more in the weeks to come.

"It energizes us a lot," Stevens said. "Last week we didn't really see it that much. We see this week that they're doing it so we know we'll have them behind us. I loved it because they were wearing us down a little bit in two a days. Now they're doing good and doing it to someone else."

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