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Auburn DC Kevin Steele sees few weaknesses in formidable Texas A&M offense

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele on the field before the team’s game against Arkansas St. Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele on the field before the team’s game against Arkansas St. Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele gave his weekly scouting report off Auburn’s upcoming opponent Saturday night.

This one was filled with a few more superlatives than in weeks past for a Texas A&M team Steele’s defense had success against at LSU last year.

“This is a monumental challenge,” Steele said of the SEC opener.

Steele expects to look much different than the one his defense held to 250 total yards in Baton Rouge last year.

It starts with quarterback Trevor Knight, a grad transfer from Oklahoma who has thrown for 584 yards and four touchdowns in the Aggies first two games. Knight came to College Station with 15 career starts and 3,000 career passing yards under his belt.

“He’s played in some big games,” Steele said.

Steele saw Knight up close in the 2014 Sugar Bowl when he was an assistant on Alabama’s staff. The then-freshman led Oklahoma to a 45-31 win throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns.

Knight throws the ball well, but he is an efficient enough runner — averaging 6.8 yards per carry through two games — to make offensive coordinator read-pass option plays effective.

With Knight at the helm, Texas A&M talented skill players are much more difficult to account for.

Texas A&M is particularly imposing at wide receiver with All-SEC receiver Christian Kirk, who set the freshman school record with 1,789 all-purpose yards, and 6-foot-5 receiver Rickey Seal-Jones.

Steele expects Texas A&M’s speed on the outside to test Auburn’s secondary.

“I don’t know how you could put together four or five guys that would present any more problems than they do,” Steele said.

Steele didn’t get as detailed about Texas A&M’s running backs and offensive line, but he briefly praised both calling the Aggies backfield a group of tough downhill runners with speed and the guys up front blocking “massive.”

For Auburn the focus will be eliminating the kind of “unacceptable” mistakes the defense made against Arkansas St.

“A solid win in terms of the score board, but that’s not how we look at it,” Steele said. “We look at our execution and how do we perform on each and every play. The majority of plays played like an Auburn Tigers defense, but we had a couple plays that were totally unacceptable.”

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