A Spring Of Change For AU's Nick Ruffin

Nick Ruffin is adapting to a new role in the Auburn football team's defense this spring.

Auburn, Ala.--It’s been a spring of change for Auburn football player Nick Ruffin.

The sophomore has moved to a new position in a new defensive scheme and is playing for a new position coach, Travaris Robinson, who is working for Auburn’s new defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp.

Commenting on being coached by Robinson, a former Auburn player who returned to AU when Muschamp was hired, Ruffin said, “He is definitely a change in pace from Coach Cheese (Charlie Harbison).

“Coach T-Rob is very energetic and very involved, very animated, to say the least, but I've enjoyed him,” said Ruffin, who has moved to safety this season. “He definitely knows how to get the best out of every single player.”

Nick Ruffin was a heavily recruited prospect as a high school player.

Last fall as a true freshman Ruffin first lined up at cornerback before moving to the “star” rover spot, which is not a position in Muschamp’s system.

“Just adjusting to being at the back end of things as opposed to being kind of on the front lines is a bit of an adjustment,” Ruffin said of his new role in the defense.

“It has been a very productive spring, very enlightening,” he pointed out. “It is not so much just the scheme but adjusting to the coaches as well. I think it has been a good spring as far as understanding the schemes because the schemes themselves are essentially simple. It's really understanding how they want you to do it and the level at which they expect it.”

Following Tuesday’s practice the Tigers have just six more remaining for spring training and that includes the annual A-Day Game, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 18th at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Commenting on his new position, the former St. Pius X High School standout from Atlanta said, “I would probably say the most difficult part of moving to safety would be just being on the tail end of things, having to see things later and be there later as opposed to you are there instantaneously--kind of having not to jump the gun a little bit.”

Nick Ruffin played in 11 games as a true freshman last season and made nine tackles with two pass deflections.

Competing with Johnathan Ford and Tray Matthews for playing time at both of the safety spots, Ruffin said he expects a lot from himself.

“I am kind of a perfectionist,” he pointed out. “I expect to be the best in the country. No one expects to go in saying, ‘Oh, we are less than the best.’ I believe that we have the talent and we have the coaches to be the best in the country, assuming that we put in the work and that we continue to get better and not get complacent. My expectation will simply be to be the best.”

For that to happen the sophomore notes the defense has a lot of work to do as the coaches pointed out following their first scrimmage of the spring.

“I think defensively we are progressing,” he said. “We have a very long way to go. The biggest room in the world is room for improvement. We will never feel like we've reached the point where we are the best in the country.

“We provided a lot of good effort, we put some good things on tape, but at the same time there were a lot of mistakes,” Ruffin added. “There were a lot of mental errors that we have to correct. I think going forward we will take the good and kind of put those aside and focus on the negatives.”

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