Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp’s reputation as a motivator is evident with the play of defensive tackle Montravius Adams.
Adams was a beast in his team’s 31-24 win over Louisville Saturday with a career-best seven tackles, three solo, 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and forced fumble that set up a 82-yard return for a touchdown by linebacker Justin Garrett.
“I got a lot of praise for (the touchdown), but I gave Montravius all the praise because none of that would have happened if it wasn’t for him,” Garrett said.
His inspired play earned rave reviews from teammates, and coaches alike with coach Gus Malzahn calling it the “best overall game” the lineman has had in a Tigers’ uniform.
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“He played quite a few snaps, he played extremely hard and was very, very disruptive,” Malzahn said. “He's the one that caused the fumble that got picked up for six points. He put a lot of pressure in the quarterback's face on the passing downs and of course in the run game he was really good.”
Malzahn has seen flashes of Adams’ vast potential the past two years, but not on a consistent basis.
The Dooly County alum out of Vienna, Georgia came into the season with 10 starts under his belt. As a sophomore, he had 43 tackles, 27 solo, eight tackles for loss with three sacks.
“Coach Muschamp was really challenging him, Coach (Rodney) Garner challenged him to take that next step about being an elite player and playing with unbelievable effort and intensity and he took that to heart,” Malzahn said.
Muschamp agreed the early returns are positive, but he isn’t going to let up on Adams. He sees all the 6-foot-4, 296-pounder natural gifts -- his size, athleticism, flexibility, instinct and speed -- and views him as an every down playmaker.
“I’ve been very pleased with his approach to work ethic and embracing what you got to do to be a good football player, and he certainly has done that," Muschamp said. "Let’s continue to do the things you -- he understands exactly what he needs to do to be a very good football player. As long as he continues to do those things, the sky’s the limit for him.”