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The Other Guys: Auburn

Auburn boasts two talented defensive linemen

SEC Championship - Missouri v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Roughly one year ago Auburn came to Baton Rouge with a hot, new Will Muschamp led defense and all the confidence in the world that they could tackle Leonard Fournette. L.O.L. There isn’t much more to say about that game, but why not watch some more of it? Saturday, LSU will be the visitor and once again Auburn will try to tackle, and hopefully, fail miserably. With that mind, here are some of the players who will be attempting those tackles.

Defensive End Carl Lawson

A former five-star recruit, Lawson had a great performance against Louisville to start 2015 but missed a chunk of the season with a reported hip injury. Despite injuries, he is still viewed in high regard as a future high round draft pick, if he can prove he’s healthy and play more consistently.

What could cause problems

As it pertains to stopping the run, Lawson is the kind of player who can shoot the gap and get in the backfield as the back hits the line of scrimmage. Lawson isn’t a super stout run defender, but plays with good leverage and keeps himself in the play. Additionally, he seems to get better at figuring out the oppositions run game as the game goes along. He has a good amount of range and if unblocked, can do a solid job closing in on a back in the flat.

Lawsons calling card is as a pass rusher. When he times the snap properly, Lawson shows and incredibly quick, explosive first step. He likes to use his speed to beat tackles to the outside, pairing that speed with a spin move, rip and swim move to get past offensive linemen.

What can be exploited and how

While Lawson is tremendous as a blitzer, he isn’t nearly the same player defending the run. Lawson can struggle to locate the ball, get off one-on-one blocks, and takes bad angles when the play is moving away from him. In passing situation, identifying Lawson is a must. The key when he is blitzing could be forcing him to counter from outside rushes to inside rushes, where he can be a little slow to change directions.

Defensive Tackle Montravius Adams

Another former five-star recruit, Adams has been a mainstay on the Auburn defensive line the last four seasons and has put together a solid resume. Also like Lawson, Adams is viewed favorably by pro teams, though opted to return for another season.

What could cause problems

Although LSU ran wild on Auburn last year, it was apparent that Adams drew a bunch of blocking attention. Adams is stout and alert as a run defender. He has a good initial pop and can lock onto offensive linemen to prevent movement, along with the strength to sustain and split double teams. Adams does a good job at positioning himself to take on the ball carrier along with the ability flow with the direction of the play.

This isn’t to say that Adams is a slow, lumbering tackle. Adams can be extremely quick off the ball and is an obvious speed mismatch for interior offensive linemen. Although it doesn't show up a ton as a pass rusher, against the run he can certainly shoot the gap and meet the runner at the line of scrimmage. He also has an outstanding motor and will stay involved in the play even if the actions is yards away from where he initially lined up.

What can be exploited and how

One noticeable problem with Adams is his technique will sometimes put him out of position. Sometimes he will fire out so quick that he can’t get himself upright to take on the blocker. Other times he will come out too high and make himself easily blockable. In the last meeting Adams seemed to draw double-team or chips on an as needed basis. Adams, more so than Lawson, could have a greater impact on fudging up the LSU run game. Running at Adams is probably a bad idea, but running close to him might be acceptable depending how well the coaching staff feels the offensive line is controlling him.