Ford Likes The Look Of Young Defense

Auburn junior Dee Ford talks about how the young defense is performing early in fall camp.

Auburn, Ala.—With five veterans gone from last season's BCS National Champions on the defensive line alone, the need for leadership falls back to a small group of player that have some playing experience for the Auburn Tigers.

The most experienced of those is junior defensive end Dee Ford. Playing in 26 games in his career with one start, the 6-2, 240 Ford has just 22 tackles and three sacks, but has seen plenty of football. Because of that he knows what the defense should look like and so far he thinks he sees some good signs.

"I feel like this defense doesn't play like a young defense," Ford said. "We're very physical, just as physical as last year if not more. We're just going to work on being in sync and doing everything right to the best of our ability."

On Wednesday the Tigers had their first full scrimmage of the preseason as they prepare to face Utah State on Sept. 3 in the season opener. Knowing how scrimmages go early in the season, Ford said overall things went well for a team replacing so much experience.

"It went great," Ford said. "It was very basic. It wasn't installing much. We just wanted to work on playing within the defense. Of course the offense executed as well. I think we did great as a team.

"You get a feel," Ford said of the young guys. "The biggest thing is just giving guys a chance to show what they can do and show that they can be trusted in Jordan-Hare Stadium."

Ford is possibly the only upperclassmen that may be in the playing rotation this fall for the Tigers with sophomores Nosa Eguae, Jeffrey Whitaker, Kenneth Carter, Corey Lemonier, and Craig Sanders expected to take on an equally important role up front for Coach Mike Pelton. Although there are just two starts combined for the group when you take Eguae out of the equation, Ford said the fact they've played some is a big deal as far as he's concerned.

"It helps because we can feed off a lot of the things that Coach Pelton teaches us," Ford said. "He's a great teacher. We have stuff that Rock (Tracy Rocker) has taught us too. We're bringing that all together. Pelton is just taking us to another level. Having older guys that have played, we know how it's going to be during the grind of the season."

With precious little experience to lean on Auburn will be counting on true freshmen across the board to provide depth. Up front that means defensive tackles such as Gabe Wright, Jabrian Niles and Angelo Blackson as well as defensive end Devaunte Sigler. Ford said all of them have shown up well so far and he's looking for bigger and better things down the road.

"I have seen some great things," Ford said. "They play physical and they play hard. It's just what we need from them. The goal now is for them and everybody to get better. As much as we're going to install we need to lock it in and do your individual job."

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