Can Auburn's recent run at linebacker continue into a new era?
The last staff turned the position into a force again. The new staff has inherited an ideal situation — and those inside the program think that can last for a while.
LB Owen Pappoe (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Prologue: The Past
It’s only natural to focus on what’s happening right now. But in order to fully appreciate the next two phases of Auburn’s linebackers — the present and the future — they need to be placed in the proper context.
Auburn had hit a rough point in its history at linebacker when Kevin Steele and Travis Williams both joined the staff as full-time defensive assistant coaches in 2016. The Tigers hadn’t produced a first-team All-SEC linebacker since Williams himself, back in 2005. An Auburn linebacker hadn’t been drafted since Will Herring — a converted safety — was selected in 2007.
A program that had generated notable linebackers such as Gregg Carr, Aundray Bruce, Kurt Crain, Quentin Riggins, James Willis, Takeo Spikes, Karlos Dansby and Dontarrious Thomas from the 1980s to the early 2000s was in a rough patch at the position.
The story has been told plenty of times to this point. Williams walked into the room he inherited when he…
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