Smith Talks About Position Move

Sophomore Tre Smith talks about making the move to defense during Auburn's off week.

Auburn, Ala.--Monday wasn't just any Monday for Tre Smith. Instead of taking the day off and relaxing following classes and labs, he had to think about a new position following a meeting with Coach Tommy Tuberville, Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik and running backs Coach Eddie Gran. Auburn's third team tailback beginning the season, Smith is now working at strong safety beginning with Tuesday's practice.

"They just said they needed help in the secondary and they know I'm an athlete," Smith said of the meeting. "They are looking for another way to get me on the field. I only played about seven plays on offense last week and I had four carries. They said I'll still play some offense, but they are looking for a way to get me another 15 or 20 snaps on the other side of the ball."

A standout running back in high school in Florida, Smith also played free safety and was a force on that side of the ball. While he said the college game is vastly different in terms of speed and timing, Smith said the move is one he's willing to make if it will make a difference down the road.

"It's pretty hard to learn a new position, but I'm going to try to learn the best I can," Smith said. "I'm still going to be doing everything I'm doing, but more. I'm returning kicks and punts and they want me to learn a new position and see how I am. If I can get playing time and help this team out then I'll do anything I can do."

Smith is shown waiting for Tuesday's practice to begin in his new white jersey. The defense wears white at practice while the offense is in blue.

Working alongside Will Herring and Donnay Young at strong safety, Smith said Tuesday's practice was mainly an introductory one for him as he tries to pick up the basics. Still not sure of what his role will be or if he will remain on defense, he said that much of that would simply depend on him.

"We haven't gotten to specifics yet," Smith said. "They're just letting me learn and feel it out and see how I look in practice. It might only be 'til week's end, you never know. It will depend on how fast I can pick it up and how good I look at the position."

No matter what happens this season you can expect to see the ball in Smith's hands for years to come on the Plains. With depth at tailback and a chance to get him on the field, the coaching staff is trying to get the team's best players on the field as much as possible. Smith said that's fine with him and he'll do what it takes to win.

"I'll move back to tailback next season unless I start doing really great," Smith said. "You never know what can happen. Right now I'm moving back to tailback. At the longest it will probably be this season."

A person who is looking for all the help he can get on offense is coordinator Hugh Nall. Even though Smith made the move to defense, Nall said that he's still planning on incorporating Smith in a variety of ways and isn't counting him out on offense just yet.

"My understanding is that he's still going to work with us some, but he'll spend a little bit more time over there this week," Nall said. "He's going to start learning the safety role, but we'll still use him in situations to get him the ball because the kid is pretty special.

"We have to wait and see how he does on defense. We have to give him a few days there and see how he picks up the safety position and how he can perform over there before we can make any comments on how much he'll be there and how much he'll be with us."

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