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  Auburn may have lost two veteran linebackers, but coach Gus Malzahn is comfortable with that position group. After all, they still have two of the best linebackers in the SEC. "Zakoby (McClain) and Owen (Pappoe), those guys - I've said this - they're two of the best in our league, and they played really well the other night," Malzahn said. McClain and Pappoe had to elevate their game coming into the season because senior Chandler Wooten opted out, but they had to step it up to another level against Arkansas because All-SEC linebacker and team captain K.J. Britt injured his hand and had to have surgery. The two of them responded to the adversity by leading the team in tackles.

While McClain led the team with 13 tackles, Pappoe was close behind with 10. Seven of McClain's tackles were solo, and nine of Pappoe's were solo. McClain also had two quarterback hurries, while Pappoe had one sack. Malzahn decided to give them both defensive helmet stickers for their performance instead of choosing between the two. He said they were both "all over the was good to watch." "We're in great shape, I think, with (McClain) and Owen," Malzahn said. "You'll see both guys continue to improve." Ranking the SEC teams 1 through 14 after three games. Without Wooten and Britt to rotate with them, McClain and Pappoe played almost every single snap against Arkansas with a little bit of help from safety Zion Puckett who played linebacker for a game. - Birmingham News

(DS#28 OLB) Jr/2022 OLB Zakoby McClainAuburn
News Source: Birmingham News



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