Moncrief Excited About New Role, Defense

Derrick Moncrief talks about the spring on defense and his new role.

Auburn, Ala.--Last season was an up and down first year for junior college transfer Derrick Moncrief after coming to Auburn out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College as one of the top safeties in the country. Playing in all 13 games and finishing with 27 total tackles, Moncrief showed glimpses of good things at times, but by the end of the season was a back-up for the Tigers.

Now ready for his senior season, Moncrief is embracing a new role for the Tigers under new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. With a defensive scheme that will show both a four-man and three-man front at different times and is built on being versatile, Moncrief is one of several players playing the Nickel/Strongside linebacker position along with Tim Irvin and Javiie Mitchell and so far it’s going well he said.

“I’m just working on effort, just battling at the SAM and the nickel,” Moncrief said. “I’m just trying to get better each and every day. I think I have.”

At 6-2, 221, Moncrief has the build of a linebacker along with his safety skills. While it might seem like a stretch to move into the box at times to support the run for some safeties, Moncrief said for him it’s nothing new.

“Yeah, it’s outside linebacker,” Moncrief said. “Playing boundary safety last year, I was in the box, too. It’s a full-time job now instead of playing safety all the time. That’s what it is.

“I feel real good,” he added. “I have an advantage because receivers can’t block me. I’m real physical. I can tackle real well and I can cover.”

One of the things Moncrief said he’s working on now is his stamina so he can play and hold up against the fast-paced offenses the Tigers will see this season. Something that will help Moncrief and his defensive teammates be up to the task is the demanding nature of Muschamp and the rest of the defensive coaches on the field this spring.

With another week left to get more of the defense down before spring is done, Moncrief said he feels good about where the unit is as the Tigers continue on the road to be a much-improved group in 2015.

We’ve progressed each and every day,” Moncrief said. “The coaches tell us to bring effort and bring heart to it, come and get better with a positive attitude. I think we are.”

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