football Edit

Players excited for Durkin’s aggressive defense

AUBURN | Aggressive, multiple and simple.

Those are some of the key words that Auburn’s players and coaches have used to describe the new defense under D.J. Durkin.

And Durkin, who was hired as defensive coordinator in January, would add one more word — effort.

Durkin began building Auburn's defense this spring.
Durkin began building Auburn's defense this spring. (Austin Perryman/Auburn athletics)

“I think for us it's really focused on we want to be really aggressive with everything we do,” said Durkin. “We want to apply pressure on the quarterback and to me defense is so much about effort, how do we tackle and how do you execute more than what you do.”

One of the biggest differences in Durkin’s defense compared to last year is the freedom and versatility given to the defensive line.

“I like how we can do four-down front and three-down front,” said defensive lineman Trill Carter. “Because that's what we did at Texas. I really like it. I can play the zero or I can play the 2i or the 3-tech.”

Carter is one of four defensive line transfers brought in by D-line coach Vontrell King-Williams, who is excited about what his players can do in the new defense.

“I think what it really comes down to is scheme-wise. I thought our scheme last year was solid. Our scheme this year is really, really, good because it allows our guys to play with freedom,” said King-Williams.

“Now, we’re going to teach them the techniques and the nuances of the defense and that you can’t mess up, but at the same time, we’re not here to just take on double-teams and stuff like that. We’re going to go and we’re going to make plays.”

Durkin stood out during spring drills with the energy he brought to the practice fields every day. In addition to coordinating the defense, he also coaches the inside linebackers including senior Eugene Asante, who likes the aggressiveness and physicality of Durkin’s defense.

“Coach Durkin is a great addition to the staff, he’s a brilliant defensive mind. Certainly somebody that brings energy and intensity every single day,” said Asante. “It just means being violent in everything we do whether it’s block destruction; whether it’s finishing on the ball carrier. It also applies to DBs in terms of violent finish on the football.

“Aggressive is a great word that we attest to Coach Durkin and it’s certainly something he’s trying to implement in every facet of the game. It’s not just a linebacker on a ball carrier, it’s aggressive in all different styles and ways. Aggressive shots on the ball when the running back is running the ball and the ball is loose. All those things are being applied and all those things are going to correlate in order for us to be a great defense.”