Spring Of Change For Mincy And AU Defense

Auburn cornerback Jonathon Mincy talks about spring football practice under the direction of a new coordinator and new position coach.

Auburn, Ala.--It has been a busy spring for Jonathon Mincy and other members of the Auburn football team's defense, and that is just fine with the junior cornerback.

"Practice is going well," he says with a smile. "We are really just trying to get a feel for the new concepts and strategies the defensive coaches are teaching us. We are just getting after it like the offense with the fast tempo."

Mincy and the other players on defense are adjusting to Auburn's new 4-2-5 alignment being installed by defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson and a totally new defensive coaching staff.

Gus Malzahn hired Melvin Smith away from Mississippi State to coach the cornerbacks. Asked how his new position coach is doing, Mincy says, "He is a great guy. We are trying to learn everything he is teaching us and go out there and get better every day.

"He is very energetic," Mincy adds. "He wants everything done right and his way of doing that is to focus on the little things every day in practice."

Mincy and the Tigers have 15 spring practices days to get better, including the annual A-Day Game on April 20th. "I am working on my man (coverage) skills and staying low in my back pedal," the cornerback says. "Really, I am concentrating on the fundamentals."

One of the big changes this year, both offensively and defensively during spring practice, is the pace. With the offense trying to run plays at a rapid clip, Mincy says that will help get the defense ready for the 2013 season.

"Last year we got tempo-ed a lot and this spring we have an opportunity to get a jump on it instead of just seeing it in the game," Mincy points out. "This is good for us and we are excited about what we are doing."

Jonathon Mincy catches a punt in spring drills.

Looking at the big picture, when asked to describe Johnson's style as a defensive coordinator, Mincy says, "He is going to be very aggressive. Coach Johnson gives everybody a chance to make plays and everybody is to able to play with their own style. We love the defensive schemes and concepts he has brought with him. We are just ready to get after it.

"Playing hard is something the coaches stress every day along with doing your assignments," Mincy points out. "They tell us if we are going to make a mistake, make sure we are doing it at 100 miles per hour."

None of the cornerbacks intercepted a pass last year and as a team the Tigers intercepted just two throws. Improving in that area is one of the focuses this spring.

"Something we are stressing in the secondary as a whole is getting more turnovers, both interceptions and fumbles," Mincy says. "That needs to be our edge in winning games."

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