Starkville, Miss.--Middle linebacker Josh Bynes predicted in preseason that Auburn fans would see an improved defense from his Tigers this season and that was the case in his team’s 17-14 victory at Mississippi State on Thursday night.
The senior middle linebacker says the performance by the Tigers was probably the best by the defense since the 2008 season.
Auburn held the Bulldogs to 246 yards of total offense with an average gain of just 3.6 yards per play.
“I think that we played some good games as a defense last year, but this year we see that if we are going to get to where we want to be, and that is definitely to win the SEC West, we have to play better defense than we did last year.”
The veteran linebacker said the defensive linemen set the tone for the SEC opener. “You can’t do it without the front four guys in front of you doing their job getting pressure on the quarterback, and defensively we had our minds right,” he pointed out.
Bynes said Auburn’s young players who have backup roles got the job done vs. Mississippi State. “We definitely need them...especially on the defensive line and even in crunch time situations.
“You saw that in the fourth quarter in critical situations we still had the young freshmen in,” he added. “They came out there and played defense just like they had been playing it for a long time. It is good to have freshmen like that.”
Bynes said it was a challenging task for the defense to get ready for the Bulldogs and their two quarterbacks, Chris Relf and Tyler Russell.
“It was very tough,” said the senior, who finished the game with six tackles. “They do a lot of different things. They do a lot with 17 (Russell) and 14 (Relf) at quarterback as well as in the run game in general. It is a lot to prepare for in a short amount of time, and we definitely put in the extra work in the film room and on the football field to make sure we had everything down pat. But, they had the same amount of time that we had so it all evened out.”
Coach Gene Chizik and his team will now have a couple of extra days to prepare for game three a week from Saturday as Clemson visits Jordan-Hare Stadium.
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