Why Owen Pappoe and Zakoby McClain will shine even brighter under Derek Mason
Auburn's new defensive coordinator has a versatile scheme that asks a lot out of its inside linebackers. And that's music to their ears.
LB Owen Pappoe (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Owen Pappoe smiled a lot during his first media interview of 2021.
The first question Pappoe received was about new defensive coordinator Derek Mason and his scheme, which made him beam.
“We love the system that he's bringing in for us, and we love him as a person,” Pappoe said Wednesday afternoon. “He's accepted us all as his sons. It feels like we're a real big family out there. Change is always good for us, man. We like the stuff that we're seeing so far.”
Pappoe and McClain were excellent linebackers in defensive coordinator Kevin Steele’s system, which primarily operated out of a 4-2-5 look.
McClain tied Troy’s Carlton Martial for the most tackles per game last season (10.27) of any FBS player who played at least 11 games. Pappoe, a former 5-star and a freak athlete, ranked second on the Tigers in defensive snaps in 2020 and was the first Tiger to have recorded multiple sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery in a single season sin…