There's a *lot* to like about Auburn's defensive front heading into 2022
In a new-look scheme, the Tigers' defense roared back to life in the trenches in 2021. They're bringing almost everyone back — and getting deeper.
DT Colby Wooden and Marcus Harris (Jacob Taylor/Auburn Athletics)
Auburn football made wholesale changes as a program in 2021 under new head coach Bryan Harsin. Some of them didn’t work out as planned, especially on offense, and the team had its worst record since the abysmal 2012 campaign.
But the overall disappointment of the 2021 season shouldn’t overshadow the steps forward the Tigers made. And most of those came from Derek Mason’s defense.
Pick out virtually any per-play defensive statistic from the 2020 and 2021 seasons and give it any category you want — against all opponents, against Power 5 teams, against SEC teams, etc. — and Auburn’s on-field production was better in 2021.
That doesn’t mean it was problem-free. Auburn’s pass defense fell victim to repeated breakdowns in a road loss at Penn State and a devastating second-half collapse at home against Mississippi State. Georgia State and Texas A&M both had highly successful days on the ground.
And Auburn will have to address some…