May 1, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — Nosa Eguae says he and his veteran defensive line buddies have a lot to prove this fall, and they're well on their way to doing it.
The Auburn defensive lineman says a productive spring on the field, quality time in the weight room and more work in the summer will allow the defensive line to deliver the promise that has occasionally eluded them. Now, with five seniors and two juniors in the playing rotation in the defensive line, Eguae says the time is now to show what they can do.
"Those guys have played a lot of football for us," Eguae said. "We know we're a senior-led group. The front is going to be on us. We have big shoulders and we're ready to put the team on our back and make the plays and do big things."
The veteran defensive line includes Eguae, Ken Carter, Dee Ford, Craig Sanders, Jeff Whitaker, Angelo Balckson and Gabe Wright
Eguae hopes fans will see improvement in the fall, but, this summer, the team belongs to strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell.
"It will be different with Coach Russell's program. Guys are setting big-time goals," Eguae said. "We tested last week and the guys' numbers were amazing. Guys just are eager to get back in there and work. It's finals week, and we're still grinding and working. We're proving we're worthy of winning games this fall, and that's important to us. We're doing what we need to get it back right.
"Guys are so positive about getting better at their craft. We've got a good group of seniors. These past couple of years we've had a small senior class, but we've finally got a good group of seniors who have been through the wars, who have been at the top and been at the bottom. We're just looking to this summer because this spring we learned so much. It was a grind, but Coach Malzahn said the first day it was going to strain us mentally and physically, but we came out there and got better every day."
Eguae and the seniors have gone through three defensive coordinators and three defensive line coaches. Ellis Johnson and Rodney Garner are the latest.
"Coach Ellis has given us a plan to make plays," Eguae said. "Anytime you have a defensive coordinator who gives you that opportunity, you've got to make the most of it. Coach Garner gives us the tools to make plays.
"I know I've seen things in my game I can improve on. Coach Garner shows you bad habits, and he gives you the tools to fix it. We appreciate that."
Eguae says the defensive line has "refocused on the technique. I don't know if we lost that the last couple of years, but you just want to make a play so bad you lose sight of the little things. Coach Garner is big on that, and he's big on focusing on the stuff that will make us better on Saturdays. He can push us to the limit, but he shows the tough-love you want."
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