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Bringing a Never Say Quit Attitude to the Auburn Defense

By on September 18th, 2013 in Football 13 Comments »

The Auburn football player started fall camp with high hopes after being chosen the Defensive MVP of A-Day, being named to three pre-season all-SEC teams, and being named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, (an honor which goes to the nation’s top defensive player).

Then in the second practice, he suffered a knee injury that threatened to derail his plans for a great senior season. It was especially disheartening after the many ups and downs he had experienced since signing with the Tigers back in 2009.

A four star recruit and the No. 7 player on Alabama’s SuperPrep team, Dee Ford had experienced the high’s of the 2010 National Championship and the low’s of last year’s nine loss season. He had been sidelined for all but three games in 2011 due to a back injury. Yet through hard work he persevered and came back to lead the defense in 2012 with six sacks; despite playing with a abdominal injury most of the season.

He had spent part of an offseason working with former NFL lineman and pass rush specialist Chuck Smith to improve his pass rush technique. He considered leaving early for the NFL but Gus Malzahn and his love for Auburn kept him on The Plains. Now healthy, he was poised to lead his team back to relevance in the SEC, when injury struck again.

It was just one more obstacle for Dee to overcome to achieve his goal as a leader for Auburn’s Defense. Some would have used the injury as an excuse for not being able to play. But excuses are not part of Dee Ford‘s persona. He believes in hard work as the solvent of problems.

If there is one thing that has been a constant in Dee Ford’s life, it’s been hard work. His high school coach said he hadn’t seen many players with the work ethic of a Dee Ford. He was known to workout before school and after his team practices at St Clair High in Odenville. And his work ethic around the Auburn athletic complex has set a high example for his teammates.

Defensive End LaDarius Owens said Ford has taught him that, “Dedication takes more than just what people see. You’ve got to go the extra mile. You can’t just do what is required or what someone is making you do.”

Ford has always gone that extra mile. He’s always worked hard to get better. When he suffered the knee injury he did what came natural … he worked harder.

In the third game of the season, he returned to play against Mississippi State. He admitted he was rusty saying, ” I don’t feel like I played at a level the team needs.” Yet Dee came up with two big quarterback hurries and provided speed off the edge like hadn’t been seen in the Tigers first two games.

Gus Malzahn said he could see a difference in the play of the rest of the defense when Ford was on the field. It’s the belief in hard work that has driven Dee to become the respected leader of an Auburn defense desperate to make amends for it’s 2012 shortcomings.

It was his first quarter hurry that forced the Bulldogs quarterback to make an incomplete throw which forced a field goal attempt that sailed wide. Even rusty, he made six tackles including three on the Dogs final drive. He was in on the tackle of Dak Prescott that forced the Dogs last punt, leading to Auburn’s 88 yard game winning drive.

His return has come at an opportune time as the Auburn ‘D’ will be facing their biggest challenge this Saturday when they go up against the SEC’s leading passing efficiency quarterback in LSU’s Zach Mettenberger as well as one of the best offensive lines in the conference.

Playing the purple Tigers in Death Valley may well be Auburn’s toughest test all year; a fact that makes it even more important to have Ford back.

Because Dee knows what it takes to be a winner – hard work and a never say quit attitude. Both team characteristics which he is determined to help bring back to The Plains.


  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……I remember watching Dee Ford way back in 2009. He was in the playing rotation, as a true freshman, due to low numbers. I think he weighed maybe 220, but he was out there battling big SEC left tackles, giving up as much as a hundred pounds. He was fast, and when he’s on, he can turn that corner faster than anyone we’ve got and get to the QB. Here’s hoping he makes a big impact the rest of the way!

  2. Malakai Malakai says:

    It’s great having Dee back. After re-watching the game I took more notice of his contributions to the defense. I also noticed a missing element we had in Chris Davis. Anyone know if Davis’ injury is serious, and if not will he be able to go this Saturday?

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Last week Davis had his foot in a protective boot. Johnson said they will evaluate the foot injury again this week before determining whether or not he can play Saturday against LSU. I hope he’ll be ready but it doesn’t look good.

  3. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    I think SEC coaches are understanding the importance of rotation and getting young players in the game soon. SEC play is grueling and I hope it isn’t going to be an injury plagued season… Stay healthy Dee, the team needs you on the field.

  4. AUJTJarhead AUJTJarhead says:

    I’m all for playing the young guys. This is the year to build. Even if it cost us, we can have a monster lineup for next year’s run.

  5. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Dee is a true Auburn man who believes in the Auburn Creed. God bless him and all his teammates and keep them healthy.


    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  6. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    Ford and Chris Davis are best players on defense. Auburn needs both to stay healthy. I know what they say about injuries give younger players a chance to step up but we need both of those guys leadership on the field.

  7. sparkey sparkey says:

    We rotate 13 players every game on the defensive line and when Whitaker gets back it will be 14. Yet, we leave in five people the whole game on the offensive line including Chad Slade who shouldn’t know what the stadium looks like let alone the damn field. I’m going to say this again: Not rotating your offensive line somewhat is garbage. Can you imagine with how Auburn is out playing people in the fourth quarter how much that would extend if we took advantage of our deepest unit?

    There are politics still going on at Auburn. I know you guys think I’m crazy but last season it turned out there were favorites being played and I was right all along. Well, the guys that we saw as favorites last season are playing again this time. Until we get rid of the damn politics, we’ll never be a championship football program again and Gus is partially handcuffed. Jay is still up to his same crap just to a lesser extent. This is NOT Gus’s team completely and I firmly believe that.

  8. Malakai Malakai says:

    Sparkey, I cannot believe that Auburn or any other team that didn’t have the coach as his father would play someone that he felt shouldn’t be on the field. I don’t quite understand what you mean by “politics.” Are you saying booster’s sons are being played in lieu of better athletes? Jacobs nearly lost his job last year. I think the last thing he or anyone else at Auburn wants to see is Auburn losing any more games.

    • sparkey sparkey says:

      You tell me why kids that aren’t as talented as their backups are still starting? In addition, tell me why it’s these same kids that played last season when they should’ve been sitting and watching others play in their stead. That’s what I mean by politics and yes I still believe it’s going on and until Jay Jacobs is gone or players that are obviously not better than their backups stop playing I’ll continue to believe that and voice that belief on every opportunity I see fit.

  9. Malakai Malakai says:

    “until Jay Jacobs is gone or players that are obviously not better than their backups stop playing I’ll continue to believe that and voice that belief on every opportunity I see fit.” -Sparkey

    That is you’re right, and I fully believe that you have that right to voice your opinion on the matter. However, I -respectfully- put to you, as a layman, as we all are because we are not coaches and do not see these kids practice everyday, what qualifies you to make the judgement on who should start and who should ride the bench? I -have- to believe that Malzahn is a man of principal and would not let anything as ugly as political shenanigans dirty up his coaching career. From what I’ve seen of him he seems honest and hardworking. Even after the win last week he told the ESPN reporter that they played poorly in the second half. I really don’t see a reason -not- to take this man at his word unless he proves otherwise.

    As to Jacobs, from a logical standpoint you would think the man wants to distance himself from the football program as much as he can. In fact, just look to the hiring committee he formed to find the coach. He knew if he made another wrong choice then it would mean his career. Pure conjecture on my part but I doubt he is micro-managing the team as much this year as he has in the past. Have you seen him on the sidelines this year? I haven’t.

    • sparkey sparkey says:

      Tim Jackson was there on national signing day. Need I say more?

    • sparkey sparkey says:

      People like you also refuse to ever admit I was right last season. You guys refuse to say that Jay Jacobs was playing politics in 2012. So, you sort of become white noise to me when you refuse to admit that politics were taking place last season. Nobody believed me early on when I said it. Now, some believe me but others don’t and just say I’m way off base. Tim Jackson is till around the program as are a couple others that shouldn’t be around there. You can think I’m a tin foil hat guy if you like, many on here do but one thing nobody on here can say was that I wasn’t right about Jacobs in the end and it seems as though the roots are slowly dying away.