adidas supernova shorts Jeff Holland menacing in first career start on Auburn’s defensive line
In his debut as a starter, Jeff Holland was a disruptive presence off the edge of Auburn’s defensive line.
The junior Buck end was among a contingent from Auburn’s front seven to leave his calling card in the Georgia Southern backfield in Saturday’s 41 7 mauling, notching career highs in tackles (five) and tackles for loss (two) with a sack. All four of Holland’s solo tackles, including both for loss, came on third down to help the Tigers hold the Eagles 0 for 15 on conversions.
“I thought he did a super job,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “He’s been a guy that’s coming on and he’s really taken ownership in that position. He had a very good spring, he’s had a very good fall camp and you can tell he’s just playing at a different level right now and that was good to see.”
Holland delivered back to back stops on Auburn’s second of six straight three and outs to open the game, derailed GSU’s lone drive of more than three plays in the first half with a sack on third and 16 and pressured GSU’s Shai Werts on another third down before halftime.
He added two more stops in the second half, again on third down.
Jeff Holland has taken ‘ownership’ at Buck position for Auburn
It was the kind of performance Auburn was hoping for from Holland as he takes over at Buck for Carl Lawson.
“I knew I had big shoes to fill. I worked hard every day,” Holland said. “It felt good being back out there with my brothers, fighting hard, giving great effort and playing physical.”
Holland didn’t want to make any proclamations about his performance or role just yet, but coaches and teammates have spoken highly of him all offseason.
“We’ve seen Jeff kind of get better each week that we’ve been here,” defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said. “He loves to practice, he loves to compete, so he’s the consummate football player from that regard. We always tell them, you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse; you never stay the same. And he works every day to get better. I think that’s what you saw.”
After recording 13 tackles in each of his first two seasons, with two sacks and a fumble recovery last season, much is being expected of Holland as his work load increases this fall.
For him to create pressure against a run heavy triple option team could be an indicator of more good things to come.
“He had to hide behind Carl Lawson, he never really had his chance,” cornerback Carlton Davis said. “Now he has his chance and he’s making the most of it.”