5 Auburn Tigers to Watch Against Arkansas

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Dec 7, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive lineman Gabe Wright (90) reacts during the first quarter of the 2013 SEC Championship game against the Missouri Tigers at Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

#90 Gabe Wright, 6-foot-3, 284 pounds, Senior, Defensive Lineman

Already known as one of the best defensive tackles in the Southeastern Conference, Gabe Wright will have an opportunity to show what he can do as a defensive end in 2013. Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson experimented with Wright at end in the “Rhino” package, but a full-time move was necessitated by the loss of Carl Lawson to a torn ACL this spring.

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  • Wright has trimmed down from his nearly 300-pound frame, and appears physically ready to make a switch to the exterior position.

    Starters Jeff Whitaker and Angelo Blackson will replace Wright on the inside and Montravius Adams and Ben Bradley should see plenty of playing time at defensive tackle as well. Adams will also see time at defensive end.

    “It’s almost linemen by committee,” defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson told the Montgomery Advertiser on Sunday. “We’ve got about eight or nine guys there, and some of them have had better performances and have more experience, but I don’t think [defensive line coach Rodney Garner has] got any concern of putting any one of nine guys on the field right now.”

    Wright has already proven himself a playmaker and he recorded 8.5 tackles for loss last season at defensive tackle. He and the rest of the defensive line appears well suited to stop the Hogs’ vaulted rushing attack (Elijah Daniels is the lightest starter at 265 pounds). However, it will be very interesting to watch Wright come off the edge as a pass rusher.