War Eagle Extra

They said it: Kevin Steele loves unique turns of phrase

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, right, smiles as his group prepares for the Sugar Bowl at the Saints' practice facility outside of New Orleans Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016.
Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, right, smiles as his group prepares for the Sugar Bowl at the Saints' practice facility outside of New Orleans Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016.

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele relies on coach-speak from time to time, but a press conference rarely goes by without the longtime assistant slipping in a memorable turn of phrase.

Steele’s distinctive way of speaking extends to the meeting room where players have grown accustomed to the coach’s unique expressions.

“He gives us one of those phrases each and every day,” Auburn defensive back Josh Holsey said. “He never brings the same one to a team meeting or defensive meeting. It’s something new with coach Steele every day. That’s what I love about him.”

Here are some of the standout quotes from his first season on the Plains…

On keeping Deshaun Watson off balance ...

”A guy that is as smart as what I think that quarterback is, we can't just sit there and throw a fastball. We had to throw the curve, the slider and a couple of times we even threw a knuckleball just to keep him off balance.”

On Texas A&M’s wide receivers …

”They’re kind of built like a basketball team. They got a point guard, they got a shooting guard, they got a three, they got a post player, they got it all. They didn’t get them all alike. They’ve got them all. And they utilize that.”

On rotating Auburn’s defensive lineman against LSU …

“We were playing with 13 men in a phone booth and they're all swinging. It was a physical game, so you need to make sure when it's that kind of game you need to refresh those guys inside. We rolled them, and they did a good job.”

On Montavious Atkinson play against Mississippi State …

”He's a rolling ball of butcher knives, now. He's wide open. He plays very, very fast and has a nose for the ball and has really made a lot of improvement.”

On Byron Cowart becoming a more consistent contributor …

“The problem as we know as coaches, you turn the corner in the SEC West — it’s kind of like going around the block. There’s another corner. You just have to keep turning corners. You never arrive.”

On Josh Holsey having a lot of pass breakups …

“If my wife is having a lot of wrecks. I'd say she's a pretty bad driver. If you're breaking up a lot of passes, I'd say you're a pretty good pass defender.”

On the backups playing against Alabama A&M …

“We talked about at halftime going out and defending every blade of grass, every snap. They responded by going out and putting six straight three-and-outs together. I don't think they made a first down until the last drive, and that was by inches.”

On gameplanning to stop Oklahoma’s pass or run game first …

“You can't approach it like that. You know, when you have got that much talent across the board, you take one out and then, you know, you will — most swords have two sides and they can both cut you. So you have to be real careful, of saying, well, we just take something out.”

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra

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