In Texas A&M's opener against Florida, senior LB Jonathan Stewart had 17 tackles. Against SMU, he only had 5. Some of that had to do with SMU's offensive style, but some also had to do with the fact the the Mustangs were stymied by the Aggies' defensive line.
"They're trying hard do what they need to do," Stewart said at A&M's Tuesday media gathering. "We are loving it from the second level that they are dominating up front."
Stewart said the defensive front, which has been solid through the first two games, hasn't been the only area on the defense that has shown improvement -- he noted that secondary made a big improvement from week 1 to week 2.
"The secondary improved a lot," he said. "We improved on tackling collectively."
Some of the secondary's improvement, Stewart said, can be credited to the increased playing time for junior nickel back Toney Hurd Jr. against SMU.
"He's very aggressive; he brings swagger," Stewart said. "He's always out there trying to make plays. He has a lot of energy because he's not in the base defense, so he's always wanting to fly around when he's out there."
The biggest improvement on the defense, the middle linebacker said, has come from junior defensive end Damontre Moore, who has matured to become one of the nation's top pass rushers early in 2012.
"His effort is great. He's all out every play," Stewart said of Moore. "Yesterday, I watched film and I think he showed up the most. We've always been tough on him but it all comes from the inside. He has non-stop motor now."
While Stewart was pleased with the overall defensive improvement from Florida to SMU, he said more work needs to be done.
"If we keep improving week by week," he said, "We'll be a pretty good defense."