Auburn Football 2011: Lemonier Stepping Up to Improve Defense

Michael AbbottContributor IIIOctober 17, 2011

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 15: Jeff Driskel #16 of the Florida Gators is sacked by Corey Lemonier #55 and Nosa Eguae #94 of the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Auburn Tigers' defense has made much improvement over the last few weeks, thanks in large part to the play of Corey Lemonier. The sophomore defensive end has had a sack in each of the last four games, with two coming in the game against the Florida Gators this past Saturday. Lemioner, a former Florida commitment, dominated the line of scrimmage, something that Auburn's defense had been missing their first few games.

Lemonier, along with senior Eltro Freeman, are giving the defense a much needed boost in confidence. The improved play by the front seven has helped the secondary tremendously, causing opposing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quicker and allowing the defense to get off the field on third downs.

Last week the defense gave up 38 points but kept the Arkansas offense in check. However, the Tiger offense couldn't take advantage. The play of Lemonier and the rest of the defense was impressive despite the loss. Even after the game was settled, the defense showed a lot of energy and played hard until the final whistle.

Going into next week, the Tigers face a huge challenge. The one thing that any Tiger fan believes, however, is that if LSU can be beaten, Auburn will find a way.

Lemonier will have to play even better against LSU. If he and the defensive line can slow the run down and force LSU to put the ball in the air, Auburn could have a chance to force turnovers and give the offense a shorter field. Despite the challenges the secondary has faced, they've been playing much better and could play a big role in putting up points to help the offense.

I've been hearing all about how Auburn just doesn't have the talent this year. Lemioner, however, is proving what the Auburn faithful already know. The talent is there, it's just young talent, and it's getting better as the year goes on, which is exactly what you want to see with a young team.