A Season Of Change On Defense For Auburn

Auburn cornerback Jonathon Mincy talks about the new attitude on defense for the Tigers heading into the 2013 season.

Auburn, Ala.--For Jonathon Mincy and the Auburn secondary 2013 is definitely a new day. Coming off a dreadful season that saw the entire group finish with just one interception, a pick by Trent Fisher against Alabama A&M, the Tigers have their goals set on making a positive difference this season.

That starts with the addition of new coaches Melvin Smith and Charlie Harbison in the secondary along with coordinator Ellis Johnson. Making it a point of emphasis to create more turnovers, Mincy said that started when the coaching staff arrived and it hasn't changed.

"That's motivation every day, every time we step on the field," Mincy said. "Coach Smith has brought a drill that we start off every day and that's something that we work every single day, ball drills, that's something that we're going to take pride in as a defensive back.

"Me, Chris (Davis) and Ryan White, that's something that we stress to the whole group. We definitely can't wait to go out there and make plays and definitely get some interceptions and change it around."

One of the biggest things that Mincy said Smith has taught the players is to use their eyes when playing football. Having the ability to adapt and adjust comes with vision and Mincy said that's something that should be a big change in 2013.

"I'm definitely playing the ball in a better position," Mincy said. "I know last year I had a couple of opportunities to make interceptions and I didn't turn around for the ball like I was supposed to because I was trying to focus on the technique they had us playing. Now we're in a position where we can really show that we can jump up and get the ball. That is something we work on every day in our drills."

While Kamryn Melton is the only newcomer at the cornerback position, the Tigers will have plenty of help coming in this fall to help in the secondary. Safeties Brandon King, Khari Harding and Mackenro Alexander will all have an opportunity to help out this season and Mincy said all of the guys have done well so far.

"They are all working," Mincy said. "When they're out there everybody is picking up on the new information quickly. Just to see those boys in action getting reps is a good feeling just knowing we've got other people who are going to come in and compete. I feel like it's going to be a great training camp. I can't wait to put on the pads."

The newcomers and veterans in the secondary need leadership and guidance on the field, something that was missing from the 2012 defense. One of the players to step up in that role has been senior cornerback Chris Davis. An unlikely candidate because of his quiet nature, Mincy said he's seen a change in his good friend and fellow cornerback this summer.

"He didn't really like speaking out," Mincy noted of Davis. "I see now that he gets that a lot of people are looking up to him. It's something he has taken in and he wants to lead by example. That's a position he's stepped into and a lot of guys respect him.

"He's a hard worker as well," Mincy said. "That is something else that you can look at and say ‘I'll go to war with him any day'. That is not just because we're cornerbacks, but because he is a hard working individual. That is something we pride ourselves in having everybody be on this team."

With the pieces of the puzzle in place and a team confident that this season will be much different than the last, Auburn will take the practice field on Aug. 2 anxious to prove the critics wrong. Picked fifth in the SEC West at last week's media days, Mincy said the goals for this season inside the locker room are much different than what people are expecting this season.

"We don't sit down and say we just want to win a bowl game," Mincy said. "We're definitely going to go out there and say we're going to win every game and hopefully take it all. That is something that every university should do, especially if you're a competitor. You're going to want to win it all. You're not going to want to settle for anything. We've got to start off at a high level at camp and we can get there."

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