Opener A Learning Experience For Young Safety

Freshman Karibi Dede talks about his play against USC in the season opener and playing Georgia Tech this weekend.

Auburn, Ala.--While much of the talk since Saturday has been centered around the lack of production for Auburn's offense, the defense has a tall order this week facing a Georgia Tech offense that is very different from the USC offense of a week ago. With versatile quarterback Reggie Ball making just his second career appearance in a college game after playing well in an opening loss to BYU on the road, freshman safety Karibi Dede said Saturday will be another test for the Tigers.

"They've got some athletes," Dede said. "They have a young guy at quarterback that's pretty shifty. We think right now that we have to focus on us and try to make things gel for us in order for us to do well this week. We've looked at Georgia Tech's film and there's no doubt they are going to come in ready to play. They are going to play hard for four quarters. We feel like for both teams there is a lot on the line. Right now we're just going to focus on us and really get things working for us."

A first-time starter for the Tigers as well last weekend against the Trojans, Dede had a solid game as Auburn's quarterback in the secondary. Making just a couple of mistakes during the game on coverages, the former high school defensive end said that the experience was one he won't soon forget because of the butterflies he had leading up to kickoff.

"I got a little nervous before the game, not really during Tiger Walk or anything," Dede said. "Travaris Robinson was in the locker room. He told me what to expect and most everything he said came true. Early in the first quarter, the first three series I believe, things were real fast. As the game progressed he told me it would be like A-Day, like going through fall full speed. That's kind of what it was like."

Karibi Dede

After watching the USC game on tape with his position coach and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, Dede said he has a much better understanding of what his job is in the defense. While all the practice time he's received has been good for his development at the position, getting game action showed him exactly what he needs to get better at before this Saturday.

"I would have been more satisfied it we would have come out with a ‘W'," Dede said. "I think as a whole the team, when you look at the tape, everybody played hard. It was a great experience. They were a good team. I enjoyed myself and I had fun. I think it gave me a much better understanding of what I have to do in practices to prepare myself for games."

Expected to challenge Donnay Young and Will Herring for the vacant free safety job, Dede was impressive all fall and his play allowed Chizik to move Young to strong safety to strengthen the Auburn secondary. After watching film of Dede's play against USC, Chizik said he did a pretty good job considering it was his first action in front of so many fans and against a strong opponent.

"I was pleased with the way he played," Chizik said. "I thought he played smart. Once you get that first one under your belt you understand how everything unfolds. I'm looking for him to get better and better. He put himself in a position to make a couple of plays that he should have made. I think he's going to be fine in the long run. I think he's going to be a very good player down the road. He's still feeling his way around a little bit, but I think he feels a lot more comfortable now just having played in that one game."

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