Jamel Dean (above) is sidelined for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--Already a thin position in terms of experience, the cornerback position for the Auburn Tigers took a big hit this week when Jamel Dean suffered a knee injury that could be a season-ender for the redshirt freshman.
Saying that Dean will “require surgery and be out for an extended period of time”, Coach Gus Malzahn called the situation an unfortunate one for the one-time Ohio State signee who has already dealt with a knee injury dating back to his high school days at Cocoa, Fla.
The injury is also an unfortunate one for Auburn’s defense with Dean battling Javaris Davis for the starting spot opposite Carlton Davis in the secondary. With fifth-year senior Josh Hosley, true freshman John Broussard and former walk-on Mike Sherwood the other options at the position right now, Malzahn said the good thing is they’ve still got plenty of time to check out other options.
“We felt like we had some depth,” Malzahn said. “I think right now you'll have to see some of the safeties at least do double time with corner. Stephen Roberts is a guy that's done that in the past. But it gives an opportunity for other people. We'll have a good plan. Anyt ime something like that happens in fall camp, you still have a chance to develop that depth.”
Javaris Davis has stepped up his game this preseason
A positive for Auburn is the way Javaris Davis has stepped up his game. Having another solid day working with the first defense, Malzahn said both Davis and Holsey are getting both ready to see extensive action.
“They both got reps,” Malzahn said. “Josh Holsey is a guy that plays corner and nickel and gives us that flexibility. I think both those guys got pretty close to equal reps. We're just trying to get Josh back in the flow and he looks 100 percent healthy and ready to go. Javaris has really continued to get better. He's playing with a lot of confidence and he can flat out run.”
A player who gets to see the cornerbacks up close every day, safety Markell Boston said he’s seen some good things from all of the guys at the position so far.
“Carlton most definitely, Javaris Davis, Josh Holsey plays a little nickel for us, but when he goes out there he steps up big-time, too,” Boston said of the guys that have stood out.
Even with the injury to Dean and moving around of players in the secondary, Boston said the defense continues to take strides as a unit.
“Most definitely I feel like we took a step forward just flying to the ball as 11, not just one person making the play and you see another one in the back just walking off with the receiver,” Boston said. “We call them walk-offs. I feel like everybody was flying to the ball trying to create good habits. When the game comes it will be second nature to all of us.”