Rosegreen Enjoys Media Spotlight

Comments from senior safety Junior Rosegreen are featured from SEC Football Media Days.

Hoover, Ala.--Nobody on the Auburn football team enjoys media attention any more than Junior Rosegreen, who was like a kid in a candy store on Tuesday at the opening session of the 2004 SEC Football Media Days.

The senior strong safety joined head coach Tommy Tuberville and tailback Carnell Williams as Auburn's representatives at the event, which attracts sportswriters and broadcasters from around the Southeast and the nation for three days of interviews and non-stop football talk.

When it comes to talking college football, Rosegreen is in his comfort zone. A huge fan of the game, the Auburn defensive back keeps close tabs on other college teams across the conference and the country. On Tuesday his main focus was on his views of the 2004 Tigers.

Junior Rosegreen is a returning starter at strong safety.

Rosegreen says that he believes the defense will be better than many suspect despite the loss of key seniors like Karlos Dansby, Dontarrious Thomas, Reggie Torbor, Demarco McNeil and Spencer Johnson.

"I think we are going to have a lot of speed on defense," he says. "We have a very good defensive coordinator and we have worked hard to get ready for the season."

Tuberville made the point on Tuesday that the offense, which outplayed the defense in spring training, will need to carry the rebuilding defense, especially early in the season. Rosegreen says the defenders have heard that message loud and clear and want to prove they can carry their load.

"That is motivation for us," the senior says. "They have a great offensive coordinator now, Coach Borges, just like we have got a great defensive coordinator, Coach Gene Chizik, who also coaches me in the secondary. We are going to take that (challenge) and run with it."

A big concern on defense is how the Tigers will replace graduated linebackers Karlos Dansby and Dontarrious Thomas, who have moved on to the NFL. Rosegreen says they will be missed, but can be replaced by a deep linebacker corps.

"We have got Travis Williams back," he says. "He is about 6-1, 215. He plays middle linebacker. No matter what the size of the dog, it is the fight in the dog. He'll bite you. Antarrious Williams is 5-11, 213 and he will bite you, too. We have also got Kevin Sears. He is like 6-4 and 250. He will bite you. All of our linebackers bite. Even our second string."

The other concern on defense is up front where three of the four starters graduated. Rosegreen says he is excited about watching a new group develop and is particularly excited about seeing his buddy, defensive end Stanley McClover, finally get on the field after having to sit out last season after not being cleared for freshman eligibility at the NCAA Clearinghouse.

"Stanley McClover is from my high school," Rosegreen notes. "I recruited him. They call him ‘The Predator' and on Sept. 4th you will see why they call him that. He is a hard worker and he has a lot of people expecting him to do big things. I think he knows what he has got to do. He is working hard right now and I don't think he is worrying about all of the hype right now. He is just working hard to get better as a player."

Comparing McClover to Torbor, the starting defensive end he is replacing, Rosegreen says, "He is probably a lot bigger than Reggie. He is like 260. I don't know who is faster because Reggie is fast and he is fast, too. I think he might be a little stronger than Reggie, but Reggie was real smart, he knew the game and had great technique. He would beat them with the great technique and speed."

Torbor has been working out in Auburn preparing for NFL training camp and has talked to McClover about what he needs to do to be successful this fall, Rosegreen notes.

Rosegreen's love for football is so strong he hopes to be around the game his whole life. It is his dream to play in the National Football League. If that happens or doesn't happen, he wants to stay involved after he puts away the pads for the final time. "When I am finished with football, I see myself coaching," says Rosegreen, who says his ambition is to someday be a defensive coordinator.

Tiger Ticket Extra: Rosegreen was asked by a variety of people what he thought about the aborted attempt led by former AU president Dr. William Walker to remove Tuberville as head football coach last year. Rosegreen says, "Everybody else was kind of mad, but I wasn't even mad because I knew he was going nowhere. Y'all never read in the paper that guys from Auburn are getting in trouble or are flunking out. Coach Tubs makes sure we go to class and do the right things. For losing a couple of games, you can't fire somebody because of that. At least that is my opinion. He won the big one (Alabama) and because of that I knew he wasn't going anywhere." Rosegreen says that the players on the Auburn team are fond of the head coach. "Coach Tubs is going to be here for a long time," the senior says. "All of the players love him. I love him. He is a good guy to us."

Rosegreen and his buddy McClover are part of the Dillard Connection, a stream of talented players who have signed with the Tigers out of south Florida prep power, Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., since the early 1990s. "Being that I went to Dillard and he went to Dillard, he always looked up to me," Rosegreen says of McClover. "When he was in his junior or senior year in high school, I told him to come to Auburn and I would show him a good time. Calvin Jackson, Otis Mounds, Frank Sanders, James Bostic, Brian Robinson and Charles Dorsey started this tradition. I wanted to keep the tradition going by going to Auburn and that is what I did. You know, we h\ave another Dillard boy this year, Patrick Sims." Sims is a true freshman defensive lineman who Tuberville says will have a chance to play this fall.

Rosegreen says he believes that too many Tigers had "big heads" last year going into the season when they were rated number one in the conference and number one in some national preseason rankings. The defensive back says the Tigers would have probably had more success if they hadn't opened the season vs. Southern Cal, which shocked and humbled the Tigers and set the tone for the disappointing season...On the subject of the Trojans, he was asked if he thought LSU or Southern Cal was the better team. They finished as co-national champs. Rosegreen says he thought that they were close, but gave a slight edge to the Trojans...After working against Auburn's new offensive coordinator in spring training, Rosegreen says that Al Borges' system reminds him of the Southern Cal offense directed by Norm Chow. "I think the offense is pretty good this year," Rosegreen says. "You are going to see a lot of Cadillac and Ronnie Brown in the backfield together."...Commenting on his motivation for wanting to win the SEC Championship as a senior, Rosegreen says, "I think we have got the best fans in the country. Auburn can have a losing season and the fans still come to the game. We are just going to try to win it for him (Tuberville), our fans and for ourselves."

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