Junior linebackers Cassanova McKinzy and Kris Frost have been very good for Auburn through its first two games. We’ve even seen flashes of greatness.

Beginning Thursday night, however, the duo has to be consistent on every snap, a tough ask against a diverse Kansas State offensive scheme.

Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson made a small change during the offseason. He flip-flopped McKinzy to middle linebacker and Frost to weak-side linebacker, and so far, the change has paid off.

“We’ve got really good chemistry, and I think we’re one of the best linebacker duos in the conference,” McKinzy told AL.com after the Tigers win over San Jose State two weeks ago. “If he slacks, I pick it up for him, and we are there to remind each other and pick each other up.”

If Auburn is going to escape the Little Apple with a win on Thursday night, it’s going to have to be because there wasn’t any picking up to do between the pair. Both guys are going to have to play extremely well to contain the three-headed rushing attack of quarterback Jake Waters and running back duo of Demarcus Robinson and Charles Jones.

McKinzy leads the Tigers in tackles, with 16 thus far on the year. Frost was quiet in Auburn’s Aug. 30 opener against Arkansas, but came on strong against the Spartans in Week 2 registering six tackles and did a good job shutting down the screen pass from the backside.

If you take away the first half against the Hogs, the Auburn run defense has been very good, giving up just 67 yards in its last six quarters. But they’ll see a lot of varied formations on Thursday night including unbalanced lines and heavy sets. Kansas State also uses a Wildcat formation that has already accounted for four touchdowns in two games.

It’s up to McKinzy and Frost to get the Tigers into the right call.

“I feel like the more I get comfortable, the better I’ll be, the faster I’ll be able to move around and the more loose I’ll be able to play,” Frost said.

“We’re going to show what we can do, different spurts of it.”