Auburn looks to build on the loss against LSU, and they did show much improvement on the defensive side of the football in the 12-10 loss. The Tigers were much more aggressive and physical flying to the football.
It was a moral victory of sorts for Auburn. Auburn fans wanted to see improvement, and that’s exactly what they saw.
After the game, Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal said last year’s defense was a cluster.
“Last year we weren’t coached very well. We weren’t as smart as players as we are this year with a change on defense.” McNeal said. “Last year, we put on kind of a clown show, a lot of guys not doing their work and not doing their job. This year, we just detailed our work.
“Basically coming into the game, we wanted to show everybody that we were a defense that could hold our own against whatever ranked team comes in here or this powerful offense,” said McNeal who made a game-high 11 tackles Saturday. “We just wanted to show everybody we could hold our ground. (…) We even wanted them to go for it on fourth down just to try to show everybody we could hold our own.”
That was a nice little shot by McNeal on former defensive coordinator, Ted Roof, who is now holding the same position at Penn State.
Auburn finished last season ranked 80th in total defense, 94th in rush defense and 50th in pass defense. This season under Brian VanGorder, the Tigers rank 86th in total defense, 104th in rush defense and 50th in pass defense through four weeks. The numbers are worse, but there is a sense of improvement.
This football team is going through a major rebuilding phase, and it is just going to take time.