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Sunday, Apr. 17, 2011

Auburn football A-Day notes: Defense not gloating over devastating display

- abitter@ledger-enquirer.com
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AUBURN, Ala. -- Although the scoreboard showed a resounding victory for Auburn’s defense on A-Day, cornerback T’Sharvan Bell didn’t want to brag about it too much.

“Not when we’re playing against each other,” he said. “We want to see that when we play Florida and LSU. When we’re competing against each other, it’s all love out there.”

The Tigers’ defense won 63-32 using a scoring system that rewarded big plays, turnovers and defensive stops, of which there were many.

“I thought they did some good things,” defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. “Going into a game like this, you want to see execution of your base calls, you want to see effort and you want to see tackling efficiency. For the most part, we did well.”

Auburn’s defense finished with seven sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and one recovered fumble.

Defensive end Joel Bonomolo had a game-high 7 tackles, 3 TFLs and 2 sacks. Bell, linebacker LaDarius Owens and defensive end Justin Delaine each finished with 6 tackles and a tackle for a loss.

After giving up a touchdown on the opening drive, the defense didn’t let the offense get into the end zone again.

“After that I definitely think we picked up the urgency and the communication,” Bell said. “We were a lot more aware and moving fast.”

Like Bell, Roof didn’t care much what the final score was. His biggest sigh of relief: “Nobody got hurt.”

MVPs all around

The offensive, defensive and special teams players of the game went to tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, defensive end Dee Ford and place-kicker Chandler Brooks, respectively.

Lutzenkirchen, a junior, had four catches for 65 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown. He worked some as a slot receiver, a role he’ll play more next season.

“It’s nice to get back out in the slot. That’s what I did in high school,” he said. “But I miss kind of doing the fullback stuff, so I think in the fall I’ll kind of do a little bit of 50-50 of both.”

Two of Ford’s three tackles were for sacks.

“That’s what Dee’s got to give us -- he’s got to give us some energy,” Roof said of the junior. “He’s done a good job of rushing the passer this spring. We’re challenging him to be more of an every-down guy. He’s responded. He’s gotten better.”

Brooks, a senior walk-on, kicked in place of projected starter Cody Parkey, who had his right knee wrapped and didn’t dress out.

Brooks made field goals of 43, 41 and 48 yards with the wind in the first half before missing from 44 and 47 into the wind in the second half.

“I have always wanted to play (at Jordan-Hare Stadium), and I finally get to do it,” Brooks said. “This is amazing.”

Quick hits

The announced attendance was 53,290. ... Mike Dyer had a light workload, carrying it three times early on for 15 yards before enjoying most of the day off.

... Walk-ons Cameron Groce and Dimitri Reese combined for 8 catches and 81 yards. ... Punter Steven Clark averaged 47.2 yards on eight punts. He had a wind-aided 68-yarder that came to rest on the goal line.

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