Defense Lays It On The Line In Win Over LSU

<b>Stanley McClover</b>

Auburn Coach Gene Chizik talks about the defensive effort against LSU and the play of the front four.

Auburn, Ala.-–Coach Gene Chizik has never questioned the effort of his defense, but Saturday things fell into place on all fronts for a defense that was thought to be the question mark for the Auburn Tigers in 2004 as they held fifth-ranked LSU to just nine points in a huge victory in front of a record crowd of over 87,000 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"They laid it on the line," Chizik said. "They laid it on the line. We said before we came over to the stadium today that when you walk out of this stadium you better want to go home and go to sleep. When you look at our defensive linemen at the end of the game and they're laying on the field. They were tired and they worked.

"I've never questioned their effort," Chizik added. "It's just them doing what we ask them to do and doing it better than they've been doing it. We don't ever question the effort of any of our guys. That's never going to be an issue. It's how well they do things. The effort is there and the defensive line did a lot better today than they've been doing."

Stopping the run is always the first goal of a defense in the Southeastern Conference and it was especially important for Auburn on Saturday. LSU came into the game with two quarterbacks trying to find their rhythm in the offense, but a running game that appeared to be getting untracked. Although LSU outrushed Auburn on the day 140-131, Chizik said keeping backs like Justin Vincent from hitting the big play was huge for the defense.

"Other than that (38-yard run by Alley Broussard) they did what we asked them to do the whole game," Chizik said. "When we had to make a change or make an adjustment they made an adjustment. They did it."

Bret Eddins sacks LSU quarterback Marcus Randall in the Tigers' 10-9 victory on Saturday.

Auburn's front four had been perhaps the only disappointment through the first two games on the defensive side of the ball. Expected to be a threat rushing the passer, the group had just one sack in eight quarters of football. But, against LSU the group showed up in style with four sacks, including a big 10-yard loss as Bret Eddins drilled Marcus Randall in the third quarter to help take LSU out of field goal range.

"They got a couple of penalties that backed them up and I guess that's why he had to hold the ball so long," Eddins said. "It gave me a chance to get to him. It was a good play by the guys on the back end to cover that long so he couldn't get rid of the ball. I really don't know what all happened, but everyone stepped up and played good.

"I didn't realize how slow I was," Eddins joked. "It seems like I watched him for about five seconds as I ran towards him. I kept thinking that he was going to see me. When you get that chance you just try to deliver a blow."

Playing as many as four first-year players on the front wall against LSU, including starting defensive end Stanley McClover, the Tiger defensive coaches were hoping to see some players grow up and starting playing like they were capable of doing. Saturday that happened as the defense earned its stripes with a big win over the defending Co-National Champions.

"Coach Chizik and our defensive coaching staff have done a great job with our younger players," Eddins said. "They've done a great job of helping us come along and mature. These guys are only going to get better. Hopefully we'll just keep improving and things will be even better this season."

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