But for Auburn, it has proven to be one of the most solid — if not the best all-around — position groups on the team through the Tigers' first five games of 2013. And the numbers are there to bolster that argument. The big men up front have allowed just four sacks this season, the fewest in the Southeastern Conference. Not one of those sacks came in Saturday's win over Ole Miss.
The fact quarterback Nick Marshall’s jersey was perfectly clean was one of the biggest positives offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee took from the 30-22 victory.
“We challenged our guys really across the board, but especially up front, to be physical,” he said. “Be the more physical football game, and I really thought we were. I thought from start to finish up front, we were really trying to be physical. I think it showed as the game went on.”
SACK ATTACK: The dominant defensive storyline that emerged from Saturday’s victory was the superb play of the line. The Tigers notched six sacks against the Rebels, their best showing since collecting 11 against Alabama in the 2005 Iron Bowl.
So how did Auburn do it? What changes did it make to utterly confuse the Ole Miss offensive line?
The answer might qualify as a surprise.
“We didn't do a whole lot different,” defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said. “We slid our front different directions based on what we felt like the play tendency was. We played our base four-man front in most cases, just tried to slide it to where we felt like the most likely point of attack was going to be.
"I thought our front players just played better fundamentally and we played aggressively. They made a lot more plays just getting off of blocks and making tackles and so forth.”