Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele opened his weekly press conference with a rare joke.
“Obviously we won the game and as (former Raiders owner) Al Davis would put it, ‘just win baby’ so that was big,” Steele smiled.
But Steele was quick to admit there wouldn’t have been much to laugh about had Auburn lost Saturday’s game against Ole Miss after giving up 465 yards through the air.
“It was not to our standard,” Steele said. “I don’t think any of our players would tell you it was.”
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The key takeaways from the 40-29 victory from Steele’s perspective were twofold.
Steele was pleased with how the defense made adjustments on the fly in response to a much different Ole Miss offense than they saw on film. The defensive coordinator declined to outline the specific tweaks he made, but the schematic changes helped the group get “re-centered.”
“We had to retool some things,” Steele said. “As it got going, it got hard to get things retooled on the sidelines but we got everything retooled at halftime. I thought the guys responded hard. There were some key fourth-down stops and some forced field goals.”
The other positive takeaway for Steele was the defense’s response in the days following the ugly win.
When the defense gathered in the meeting room, the players were a motivated bunch.
“They were not pleased with it, and when that happens, it makes coaching a whole lot easier,” Steele said. “That means they bought into the process of, it's about the next play. It's not about what anybody else does, it's how we do what we do. The relentless effort. The physicality. Tackling. And then play with technique.”