Auburn has struggled lately against mobile quarterbacks.
Nick Fitzgerald rushed for 195 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns when the Tigers fell on the road, 23-9 to Mississippi State two weeks ago. Auburn faces off against another mobile quarterback this week in Ole Miss' Jordan Ta'amu, who last week against Arkansas rushed for 141 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown.
Auburn senior defensive lineman Dontavius Russell spoke about how the defense needs to start preparing for a talented Ole Miss offense.
"I just feel like whenever you have a running quarterback, it just adds another dimension to a football team," Russell said. "They kind of had a running quarterback last year — well, they did in Shea Patterson. I feel like they'll be similar to the same offense. They always have a pretty explosive offense. That always presents a challenge, but we'll start preparing for it today."
Following the Tennessee loss, the Tigers diverted from their usual Sunday schedule. They had their regular meetings but did not practice, and offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele did not talk to the media.
"We didn't win the game. So it's definitely different from the ones that we won," Russell said of the vibe from the weekend. "That in and of itself makes the difference. I don't think so. There were sometimes last year we didn't practice on Sundays."
Auburn (4-3, 1-3) at this point in the season has practically no chance to make the College Football Playoff or win the SEC. Regardless, Russell made it clear the Tigers still have a lot to play for.
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"In this situation, when the season isn't necessarily going the way that you would want it, a lot of people on the outside kind of start to turn against the team," Russell said. "That's a situation where I feel like we have that opportunity to play for each other and have our teammates' back.
"It's easy to have your teammates' back whenever anything is going good, but you really find out who has your back when it's going the way it is now. I feel like this is the most important time for us to really play together."
Auburn (4-3, 1-3 in SEC) takes on Ole Miss (5-2, 1-2 in SEC) this Saturday at 11am p.m. CST at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, the furthest road game for Auburn this season at 263 miles. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
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