Sanders Excited About Sophomore Season

Craig Sanders talks about being bigger and stronger heading into 2011.

Auburn, Ala.—Coming to Auburn from a 1A high school where he played just about every position on the field at different times throughout a game, Craig Sanders got a head start on his career with the Tigers by enrolling early and going through spring practice in 2010. Weighing in at 224 pounds, the former running back turned defensive end spent much of his time working out trying to get bigger and stronger.

That paid off as he played last season at around 245 pounds and was a star on special teams for Coach Jay Boulware, but now a year later Sanders is physically imposing and ready to leave his mark on the Auburn defense in 2011.

"It has been going pretty good," Sanders said. "I had the flu back in the spring so I'm trying to gain all my weight back in the summer. It's coming along pretty good. I'm weighing about 268 right now. They want me at 270, but I want to at least be about 275 because you always lose weight during the season."

Adding that much muscle size doesn't come easy as Sanders said he eats about five meals a day and works out like a madman. Working out with Auburn's Kevin Yoxall in the mornings at 6 a.m., often you can find Sanders working out again late at night at a local Auburn gym. He said it's just something he feels like he needs to do in order to be the best.

"You have to be smart about it," Sanders said. "If you think about it, you can do as much upper body as you want to, but if I were to do legs on Monday and Tuesday is our run day then you can't do legs on Monday because Tuesday you would be dead. You just have to be smart about what you do, but you can always do extra."

One of the strongest players on the team and still with the same speed be brought to the table last fall, Sanders said the only difference in his endurance at the moment but it's something he's working to improve throughout the summer. He said in addition to his physical growth he has grown by leaps and bounds as a player also.

"I'm so much better technique-wise," Sanders said. "When I came in I wasn't really good with my technique, but just focusing on one position helped me to get better at that. Between Coach (Mike) Pelton and Coach (Tracy) Rocker it has helped a lot."

Along with fellow freshman Demetruce McNeal, Sanders made his biggest impact in the 2010 championship season on special teams. In particular he shined on kickoff coverage with big hit after big hit helping the Tigers win the field position battle in just about every game. He said it's something the fans have recognized and he appreciates it.

"I've had a bunch of people that see me and tell me that I can't gain too much weight because they want to see me running down on kickoffs," Sanders said. "I love that. It's awesome. It's just like a big family."

Joining fellow sophomores such as Nosa Eguae, Jeffrey Whitaker and Corey Lemonier in taking on a leadership role throughout the spring and this summer, Sanders said it's something that he feels comfortable in doing because in a leader there is only one prerequisite.

"You just always have to be doing the right things," Sanders said. "I think it's going to be great. Especially when our senior year rolls around and we've been there for three years. It's going to be really good."

With so many new faces on both sides of the ball and players such as Cam Newton, Nick Fairley, Zach Clayton and Josh Bynes gone, many are expecting Auburn to fall flat this season in a rebuilding year. Sanders said in his mind it's not a rebuilding year at all.

"I think it's a reloading year," Sanders said. "We lost a few guys, but there are still a lot of guys back. The people that are on the second-team were just as good as the guys who started. I feel like we're reloading."

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