Tiger Defensive Back Looking For Big Senior Season

Junior Rosegreen comments on his development and the development of the defense as a group following spring football drills.

Auburn, Ala.--Following a 2003 season that required Junior Rosegreen to start six games at cornerback and seven in a regular role at safety, the Auburn senior says that he is ready to direct his concentration on one position in 2004.

"That is good for me," Rosegreen says about being at safety on a full-time basis. "Then I can stay at one position and focus on just safety. Every now and then I am going to be in a one-on-one match-up and that is fine. But, being that I am going to be at safety the whole season that is going to be good for our defense."

Rosegreen says that he is heading into his senior season as prepared as he has ever been to help lead the defense. "I think, I have improved a lot," he notes. "I came into spring at 200 pounds, which is a little heavier. Last year I came into spring at like 185, so I feel better because I am lot bigger, a lot quicker and I know the defense like the back of my hand and that gives me a chance to make more plays.

"Like, I know if we have got a blitz nine times out of 10 the pass is gong to be quick," Rosegreen adds. "I see that and I can read the quarterback a little better and that is going to help our defense. As long as I can be back there making some big plays, me and Carlos Rogers, I think we are going to be okay."

Rosegreen works in a pass interception drill during a spring training session.

Along with his own progress, Rosegreen says he has been impressed with the development of some the newer safeties this spring. "Kevin Hobbs is doing pretty good back there," the senior tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "He is smart and he played corner so he knows where the safety is supposed to be and he has a little jump on the ball because he has good speed. Eric Brock is learning and he is going to be a great safety, but he has just got to get better and keep learning the system."

In addition to the help at safety, Rosegreen says that he is excited about having additional talented athletes to play the cornerback positions this season. "Courtney Denson is coming along and Montae (Pitts) is coming along and David Irons and Zach Gilbert," he notes. "We have got some young corners that are trying to step up and make some big things happen. As long as those guys at the corners keep coming up and trying to get better and make progress I think we will be alright.

"Our corners are playing pretty good," Rosegreen adds. "They are going to get better and better. They might get some deep balls caught on them every now and then, but that is just going to happen in the game of football. If you are playing against a good receiver he is going to catch some balls. You have just got to bounce back when he catches a big one on you and come back and make a big play on him."

Rosegreen says that he enjoyed watching the younger guys compete throughout the spring. He was there to help his teammates whenever they had a question about what to do.

"I look at it like this," says the senior, who had 52 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception last season. "If the man that I am teaching is better than me then he deserves the job, but even if he is better than me he is going to have to come get it. I am not just going to lay down, but it has been good teaching them and showing them the ropes."

One newcomer that Rosegreen appears to be teaching some skills to is Irons. However, the skills he is teaching are not jumping routes or reading quarterbacks. "I am far better than David at talking trash," he says. "I get in a receiver's head and try to intimidate him and that is just me. He does a pretty good job, but he has got to learn he has a long way to go before he catches up to me."

Following the completion of the 15 spring practices, Rosegreen says that he did not come away overly impressed with the performance of the defense. "We did alright," he notes. "We could have done better and all I can say is we are going to keep getting better. We are still not there yet. We have got a long way to go and we are just going to keep progressing and getting better."

However, the former Dillard High standout from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., explains that having to work against Auburn's re-tooled offense throughout spring practice should be a plus for them come September.

"Oh, yeah," Rosegreen says when asked if it was tougher defending the Tigers' new offense. Rosegreen says that senior quarterback Jason Campbell improved during spring drills. "Coach (Al) Borges is bringing the best out of him by working him hard and staying on him and just bringing him along," Rosegreen says. "The other quarterbacks are throwing the ball well also. Kelcy Luke is making some big throws and (Brandon) Cox is throwing pretty well, too. So, I think we are going to be better after going against those three quarterbacks this spring."

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