Auburn is off to a 3-0 start -- needing three weeks to match its win total from all of 2012 -- and several elements of the overall enterprise are functioning at a much higher level than before.
While the coaching staff deserves a sizable portion of the credit for that progress, players are competing more ferociously than before and showing a new spirit that simply wasn't on display last season.
With that in mind, let's take a look at Auburn's defensive two-deep and see who is thriving on an individual level:
Ford missed the first two games because of a sprained MCL, but returned for the win against Mississippi State. He simply hasn't played enough to evaluate in any meaningful capacity, though Ford finished with six tackles against the Bulldogs. Looks ready to me. Critical piece of the defensive enterprise now that Auburn is delving into the meat of the SEC season.
One of the best stories of September -- at least so far. Owens opened two-a-days as a forgotten man at linebacker, but shifted to end due to depth issues and has played well there. He brings speed off the edge and a strong motor; he never quits on anything. Owens' technique isn't great, but that's not his fault. Ellis Johnson wants passion here and that's exactly what he's getting.
STATS: 13 tackles including 2.5 for loss, one sack, three QBHs