Auburn DB See Progress, But Wants More

Auburn cornerback T'Sharvan Bell talks about his team's defense as the Tigers wrap up spring drills.

Auburn, Ala.--Junior T'Sharvan Bell said it felt good to take the field and play in front of thousands of fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium during Auburn's A-Day football game on Saturday, which the defense won 63–32 in the scoring system AU's coaches use for scrimmages.

"It's a sign that the season's getting closer so it definitely felt good," the cornerback said. "You could tell a lot of guys felt the same way because they were flying around and playing faster."

Bell said he enjoys the chance to play football on Pat Dye Field whenever he gets the chance. "You don't even have to bring the fans," he said. "If it's just a scrimmage, if it's just us and the coaches, it's an honor to be on that field."

Bell said he thought the defense played well on A-Day, which was the third and final major scrimmage of the spring for Coach Gene Chizik's Tigers.

T'Sharvan Bell

The former safety said that the defense on Saturday was more physical than the first two scrimmages, but said the Tigers have plenty of work to do.

"Right now as a defense, we're good, but we've seen what great looks like and we're just trying to get back to great," said Bell. "If it was on a grading scale, I'd give us a C as of right now, but we definitely have the potential to be A, A-plus, one of the best secondaries in the country."

The cornerback said the defensive schemes for A-Day were more basic than in the two previous scrimmages. "We were out there in nickel, but we were still in base coverages and we weren't doing too much blitzing and showing different coverages," he said.

With the dismissal from the team of starting safety Mike McNeil in the winter and the departure of 2010 senior defensive backs Zac Etheridge, Aairon Savage and Demond Washington, the Tigers will count on Bell to be a leader of Auburn's young and inexperienced secondary this season.

The Tigers will look for starters and depth in the secondary from a host of underclassmen including sophomores such as Demetruce McNeal, Chris Davis, Ryan White and freshmen Jonathan Mincy and Jonathan Rose.

The competition for playing time at cornerback and safety is expected to become more intense with the arrival of true freshmen Erique Florence, Robenson Therezie, Jermaine Whitehead and Anthony Swain before practice resumes in the fall.

Bell, who recorded six tackles and a sack in the A-Day contest, said the young defensive backs have focused on learning the position this spring. "They're eager," he said. "They're hungry. There is a sense of urgency so I think that is our biggest upside. We have got a lot of young guys back there and they are not backing down from any challenge. They just want to learn and go out there and play."

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