Position Change A Pleasant Surprise For AU Junior

An Auburn football player talks about learning a new position.

Auburn, Ala.--Although he has only played the position for two days in practice, Andrew Letts says that he is already developing a fondness for his new role as an outside linebacker for the Auburn football team.

"It's going well," Letts says. "I really like it. Hopefully, in the next couple of days I can get really comfortable at it. I have really enjoyed it so far, and I would like to make it my permanent home."

Letts notes that the move from safety to linebacker came as a surprise, but he was willing to make the switch to help the team. "Coach (Tommy) Tuberville had come up to me on Saturday and he told me that I need to start meeting with the linebackers," Letts says. "He said, ‘Tomorrow I think we're going to move you over to linebacker.' And after practice, Coach (Gene) Chizik came up to me and asked me if I'd be comfortable with it, and I told him that if they want me to do it, I'd love to."

Letts has won praise for his play this preseason.

Letts, a junior, came to Auburn as a specially invited walk-on from Hinsdale, Ill., Central High School. "We moved Andrew to linebacker because we need some depth over there and he's kind of a nickel (back) guy," Tuberville says. "We can take a willie (outside linebacker) out and play nickel. We're moving him up there where he can get more reps because we can't get enough nickel just in practice.

"We'll throw him in there and he'll play some run situations because they will run the ball, too. Even if you go nickel, the doesn't mean they're going to throw it every time so we're getting him in there where he can play some run."

Letts says, "I've never played linebacker. A lot of the stuff we do at strong safety, which is what I've been playing, some of the plays that we do put us in a linebacker-type situation.

"Hopefully, I'll get to where I'm really comfortable and I can be a nickel back in some of our nickel and dime packages," Letts adds. "I think it will definitely help that I've played safety and have a good idea of playing defensive back, like covering receivers and what not."

Letts played receiver and free safety in high school, and attended a prep school before coming to Auburn. "Out of high school, I went to West Point Prep School up in New Jersey for one year," he says. "I played a junior-college type season, and then I came here." When Letts walked-on to the Auburn football team in 2001, he was a 175-pound receiver.

Since then, Letts has added more than 30 pounds of muscle to his 6-1 frame. Last season he was moved to safety and saw action in all 13 games and collected 15 tackles as a key member of the special teams. The hard-nosed junior was an excellent wedge-buster on the kickoff coverage team, and will continue to play special teams this season.


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