Auburn, Ala.--With Auburn preparing for the season opener against the Louisville Cardinals on Sept. 5 in the Georgia Dame Coach Will Muschamp is counting on several freshmen to play key roles for the Tigers on defense. One of those is talented defensive lineman Byron Cowart.
A player that struggled early in camp to find his niche in Muschamp’s scheme, Cowart has come on strong the last two weeks on the practice field and the results have put him in a position to play as a backup to DaVonte Lambert on the defensive line.
“Byron is going to play,” Muschamp said. “It doesn't matter first down, second down, third down. He's going to play in the game and play a lot.
"I think the last week or so he's been a much improved guy, but we continue to narrow down game plan wise what we do,” he added. “It's certainly helped him, and it's helped all the freshman. We are in the mode of installation in the early part of camp, there's a lot thrown at them and we start to narrow down things down during game week. We have to got to install for the (entire) season in camp, I don't like introducing a brand new thing first time out."
Cowart is a player that could be used in pass rush situations when the Tigers want to get more speed on the field. Another player that could fit in that role is Jeff Holland. Working at the Buck position behind Lawson, Holland could also see some time at the Sam linebacker spot and Muschamp said he brings some good things to the table.
"Jeff has been good,” Muschamp said. “Jeff has some really natural pass rushing ability. We have to continue to work on some things in the early downs. He's a guy situationally that can help us."
In addition to Cowart and Holland up front, Muschamp said that linebacker Darrell Williams could also see some time at linebacker, but would likely see his first action on special teams. The same is true of safety Montavious Atkinson, a player that is trying to work his way into the rotation at safety.
The biggest group of newcomers will be in the secondary where Jeremiah Dinson, Carlton Davis and Javaris Davis are all expected to play at the cornerback position for the Tigers. Throw in Tim Irvin at safety/nickel and the Tigers will be counting on a lot of new faces on opening day.