HOOVER, Ala. -- Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown’s decision to return to Auburn not only solidified Auburn as one of the best defensive lines in the country but solidified the bond between the two veteran defensive linemen.
When the two – alongside Nick Coe – made the decision to return, a big driving force behind that decision was Davidson’s strong bond with Brown.
“I mean, I wanted to return with a little bit of help,” Davidson said. “I mean, just, playing with my brothers again man. Me and Derrick and Nick had a group chat, cause I mean, you know, that's who we are and just you know, just talking to each other, weighing each others options and stuff. Like if we did this, how much better would we be? If we came back here, how much money would we make? Just different things like that. And I mean we all came to one thing, and that was coming back. And we came back.”
There is no question that Davidson and Brown are two of the most talented defensive linemen in the country with Davidson about to be a fourth-year starter on the defensive line for Auburn and Brown being projected as an early first-round selection.
The chemistry the two have together is also no secret with the duo being teammates for the past four seasons and even sharing an apartment.
“That's a funny relationship. You know, me and him, we actually live together,” Davidson said. “So, I mean every day I go home, I have to see him. And I mean, I feel like I should go home to myself.”
Living together adds a whole new dynamic to a relationship and it has molded the relationship into something more than just teammates on the football field.
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“Derrick is a character, sometimes I just go wake up in the morning and go wake him up, when he ain't got to do nothing, just to make him mad,” Davidson said. “Just doing things like that. Living with Derrick, it's a lifestyle, man. It's good to live with one of your teammates, you get more closer, living with your teammate. You see different things with him with family issues, and all type of things like that. You know it's more personal. It's been great living with Derrick.”
The brotherhood-like relationship shared between Davidson and Brown translates onto the field with the two always staying in sync with one another. The duo of Brown and Davidson has been a driving force in the success of the defensive line the past few seasons with them racking up 16.5 sacks, 38 tackles for loss, 12 pass deflections and 31 quarterback hurries combined over their respective careers.
“Yeah, it's more personal, too,” Davidson said. “Like no one can mess with Derrick because I'm messing with him, type of thing. Like that's my brother, man, we just different. I mean, they call us the most playful group on the line, cause we like to play and have fun, like we just go there and bully the defensive backs. We bullied them and having fun with them, just showing them different things, you know, just being more interactive. It's just having fun, man, that's all it is at the end of the day.”
Heading into his fourth offseason as a member of Auburn, Davidson has focused on slimming down his frame in order to be quicker on the edge and finish on the quarterback.
Davidson is now down to 278 pounds and has lost five percent body fat to 16 percent thanks to his routine with strength and conditioning coach Brian Russell.
“I go straight to Brian Russell, Coach Russell, the strength and conditioning coach,” Davidson said. “And he busts my chest open. And he gets me very tired. Know what I mean? He does something very different than any other coach. Know what I mean? He's the strength and conditioning coach, he gets me faster, he gets me stronger, he gets me my first step quicker.”
Davidson also credits the retooling of his body to his change in diet that comes with its own struggles – including giving up a few fried favorites.
“Yeah, I had to give up a lot of fried foods, man,” Davidson said. “I usually go to Burger King a lot, Zaxby’s, doing those different types of things, but you know, just cut it down. You still have your cheat days and stuff like that just to get the feel back. You can’t never just cut it all the way out. But it’s just limiting it more. And I used to be a real heavy candy guy. Like, I’ve got a Three Musketeers in my pocket now. But just the fact of it is, you can’t just cut it all the way out—just limit it.”
“I’m just taking it way more serious now,” Davidson said. “You know, I used to hate greens. Like, I didn’t like greens at all. I couldn’t eat, like, salads. I couldn’t eat those types of things.”
The change in diet, weight loss and intense daily workout routine is still not enough for Brown to enjoy a joke at his teammates expense.
“He's leaner. I'm still gonna say he's fat. But he's leaner,” Brown said.
Brown and Davidson’s playful nature has the two constantly messing with each other and even leading to Davidson calling Brown a “bully.”
“I mean like, Derrick's a bully, he really is. He bullies me, he's bigger than me, he's stronger than me. He's not faster, but, of course, but Derrick, he's that guy. I mean, I appreciate Derrick for everything he does.”
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