Auburn, Ala.--After a slow start to his redshirt senior season, defensive end Dee Ford is having a big finish and he wants to make sure that continues for himself and his team.
With one more victory in the regular season when the Tigers take on Alabama a week from Saturday, Auburn could taken another giant step forward on its quest to go from worst to first in SEC football.
“Going into the season our goal was to get better every practice and every game, and that is what we have been doing,” said Ford, who has played a key role in his team posting a 10-1 record with a 6-1 league mark this year.
“We took it one practice, one game at a time and we find ourself here,” added Ford, who is second in the SEC in quarterback sacks with eight despite missing the opening two games after hurting his knee in preseason and then playing at less than 100 percent physically for the next month or so after his return.
With a team-leading 11 1/2 tackles for lost yardage and a team-best 14 quarterback pressures, the former St. Clair County High star notes he is enjoying his team’s turnaround season after the Tigers finished 0-8 in the SEC and 3-9 overall.
“We have definitely worked for this,” Ford said of his team’s success. “The opportunity is here now and we just have to finish.”
Ford himself had a big finish to Auburn’s exciting 43-38 victory over Georgia last Saturday. He tallied a sack and six quarterback pressures, including one on the final play of the game as he walloped quarterback Aaron Murray as the UGA star threw a pass that fell harmlessly to the ground.
Dee Ford rocks Aaron Murray on the final play of Auburn's victory over Georgia.
“I was just trying to get to the ball,” Ford said on the final play vs. Georgia. “We had a stunt going on. We were trying to protect the inside from draws or anything like that. I was just able to come up with that big hit.”
Fellow senior, linebacker Jake Holland, noted that he was impressed with Ford’s inspired performance vs. the Bulldogs. “Dee had a great game,” Holland said. “He was really getting pressure on Murray all night, honestly. It was good for him to be able to get the final tackle.”
Next up for the Tigers is a home game vs. Alabama that will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CDT on Saturday, Nov. 30th. If the Tigers win that game they will make the trip to Atlanta to represent the SEC West in the league championship game on Dec. 7th at the Georgia Dome.
The piano-playing lineman, who believes in the importance of yoga and healthy eating, is known among this teammates as being a guy who is totally dedicated to playing to his potential. Ford points out the Tigers need to keep their feet on the gas when it comes to pushing hard to improve.
“The defense still hasn’t played a complete game so we have a lot to work in this bye week,” he said. “We have time to get healthy, especially me, and we can use this bye week to our advantage.”
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