Jason Caldwell

Auburn's Freshmen Defensive Backs Coming Along For The Tigers

Auburn's freshmen defensive backs could be keys to success for the Tigers in the second half of the season.

Auburn, Ala.--In last week’s win over San Jose State freshman cornerback Carlton Davis found himself in a familiar position, locked up man-to-man with a receiver and no help in site. While the results were not what Coach Will Muschamp wanted as the Spartans scored a touchdown on the pass, he said Davis was once again in good position and now the next step is to make the play.

The same thing happened to Davis against Mississippi State with massive receiver De’Runnya Wilson catching a ball despite tight coverage and falling in for the touchdown. Even though things haven’t gone his way so far this year Davis is on the right track and Muschamp said it’s only a matter of time before things start going his way.

“He's in the position to make the play, and he's playing the ball, and exactly what we want him to do in that situation,” Muschamp said of Davis. “They knew where they wanted to go with it, they knew the pressure was coming and they made a play, and we didn't.

“We've had two opportunities on third down in the red zone, and the last three ball games we haven't been as good in the red zone as we were the first two. We have to continue to work on that.

“But we're in a position to make plays. I'd certainly put him in that same situation again. He's going to come up with those plays as we continue to move forward.”

Davis is one of several young players that have stepped up and played well so far this season for Auburn in the secondary along with fellow freshmen Tim Irvin and Jeremiah Dinson along with sophomore like Nick Ruffin. Combining for 33 tackles in the first five games the freshman trio is showing a physical side and despite the struggles that obviously come when you play as true freshman, the group has impressed senior Jonathan Jones.

“They’re growing, all of them,” Jones said. “They’ve had some learning curves, some stumbles along the road, which is—they’re freshmen; it’s part of the game. But they’re growing and learning each week.

“The key thing in football is not to keep making the same mistakes, so they’re learning from their mistakes and being able to contribute.

“We need them and we’re going to continue to need them, and like I said, they’re all getting better.”

Now with a bye week behind them and a Thursday night showdown at Kentucky in what could be the make or break game for this Auburn team, Jones said he’s seen nothing but positives from this group of freshmen and things should only get better with more experience under their belts.

That’s good news for the defense moving forward, but it’s going to take a total team effort to get things back on track for Auburn, starting with the first opportunity against the Wildcats.

Currently 3-2 on the year the Tigers must be an improved football team when they take the field on Thursday night, not only to get a win on the road but for what lies ahead. With a stretch upcoming as tough as anybody faces in the country this Auburn team has some battles ahead.

Jason Caldwell

Tim Irvin is another of the impressive freshmen DB's for the Tigers

With talk that this season is shades of 2012 when the Tigers won just three games in Gene Chizik’s last season on the Plains the time is now to turn things around, something Jones said he believes is coming.

“You can just feel it in practice,” Jones said. “In 2012 I could sense people were giving up. No one’s lost faith, no one’s lost hope here. Everyone’s fighting.

“Practice is still live and everyone’s are jumping around and excited. Any time you have energy, that’s the main point. People want to bring energy to practice and come out and play.”

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