March 31, 2009

Stevens has early braggin' rights

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof bragged Saturday about linebacker Craig Stevens' play during the first week.

Sunday, Roof was again asked which players stood out during the Sunday practice.

"Did I talk about Craig Stevens yesterday?" Roof asked rhetorically. "He did a good job again today, too. Funny how it keeps happening, huh? He did a nice job."

Stevens doesn't often find himself in the spotlight. That's part of the problem for strong-side linebackers - they do the dirty work, taking on offensive tackles on runs and covering slot receivers in the spread.

Most of the time, they don't get noticed for their work.

That explains how Stevens, who started all 12 games last year and finished fourth on the team in tackles, is often overlooked on an Auburn defense with flashier players.

Stevens admitted he sometimes feels under-appreciated.

Roof hasn't made that mistake.

"He's very coachable," Roof said. "He's a salty veteran, is what he is. He's becoming more physical each and every day."

Stevens said he hasn't really adopted a new approach to camp.

"I've just been going out trying to work hard every day - doing drills full speed, try not to take a play off and just get better every day," he said. "I guess he just noticed that."

Roof isn't the only one who has noticed.

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