Wesley Steiner is 'hard on himself' — and he'll be hard on opposing offenses, too
The hype has been building for Auburn's bright young linebacker for multiple years. Now, Steiner is ready to help lead the way for the Tigers' defense.
LB Wesley Steiner (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Wesley Steiner is tough on himself.
The most recent example of that came after Auburn’s A-Day Game last month. Steiner, who started at inside linebacker next to Cam Riley while the recovering Owen Pappoe watched from the sidelines, led all Tigers with six tackles. By all accounts, Steiner was one of the star performers from the spring finale.
In his words, though?
“There's been a lot of ups and downs, like every spring — at least for me. For me to come out here and play fairly OK today, I'm OK with it,” Steiner said. “There's still a lot to improve on for myself. But I'm excited to get back to the drawing board, for real.”
Steiner’s comments naturally led to a follow-up question — what does he need to improve?
Most players, when asked about that, will either keep the responses short and sweet or say the areas for improvement are things they’ll keep to themselves for now. Steiner, on the other hand, immediately launched into a lengthy reply:
“I definitely want to work on my hips. I say my hips, it's more of me getting out of a plant-drive. Probably a better understanding of seeing routes and reading through routes. There was a play today, I thought I could have opened up a lot better to come down and make the play, whether it was my job or not — we'll get back to it when we go back and watch it. But certainly my hips, and there was a missed tackle today as well. I talked to a couple of the older linebackers — Zakoby (McClain) was out here today, so I talked to him about it, talked to Owen about it. Just things I could've done better on that missed tackle.
“That missed tackle really does bother me, because it could have been a really good play. Selling myself short, at least, especially when my teammates create opportunities for me to make a big play for them. That bothers me that I didn't do a good enough job for my teammates, especially on that missed tackle. These missed tackles, I definitely want to go back and correct my tackling form and understanding my coverages and relating my body to the coverage so I can make more plays for the team.”
A reminder: This was brought upon by a single missed tackle… during a practice… five months before the start of meaningful football games.
But that’s Steiner, a junior who is one of the first in line to replace what the Tigers lost in Zakoby McClain and Chandler Wooten at inside linebacker.