Veteran Defensive Back Looks At 2004 Defense

Carlos Rogers discusses his health and the defensive team that he should be a key component of this season.

Auburn, Ala.--Preseason All-SEC cornerback Carlos Rogers has not exactly had a preseason to remember for the Auburn football Tigers.

The senior hopes that changes now that opening day is just around the corner as the Louisiana-Monroe Indians visit Jordan-Hare Stadium for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff on Saturday.

Rogers has been nursing a knee problem and has seen limited action in preseason drills, although he has been back in the action for recent workouts.

"I am not too far from 100 percent," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "My knee is bothering me a little bit at certain times, but once I jog on it, it is pretty much there. It will be all right."

Rogers and his roommate, tailback Carnell Williams, both decided to skip the NFL draft earlier this year to return for their senior seasons. Both are expected to be key players for the Tigers.

Rogers, who has 31 career starts at Auburn, says with Louisiana-Monroe hiring a new offensive coordinator that the Tigers aren't exactly sure what to prepare for this week in defensive practices. "We have a little film taken from places where he has coached and put together what we think he is going to do, but we really don't know for sure," the cornerback says. "I think they are going to do a lot of bootleg and spread us out."

Carlos Rogers will be bigger and stronger when he takes the field as a senior.

Rogers, who has worked hard to move his weight up to 200 pounds after arriving as a freshman weighing in the 160s, says that he has been able to keep the pounds on this preseason, unlike previous years when he struggled with that. "I pretty much kept my weight up this time," he notes. "I eat before and after practice and drink a lot of fluids. That is one thing Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall) gets on us about because when it is real hot at practice we can lose a lot of weight."

With concerns about Rogers' knee, plus David Irons going down for the season with knee surgery and Courtney Denson leaving the team, depth at cornerback is an issue. Kevin Hobbs has moved back to corner from free safety, where he moved in the spring. Zach Gilbert, a walk-on redshirt freshmen, joins true freshmen Anthony Campbell and Tristan Davis as backups at the position.

"They are doing pretty good," Rogers says of the reserves. "The last two practices they have done real good. The coaches have been talking about the things we need to do--being physical, better technique and being technically sound."

Going into preseason, the secondary looked to be the strength of the defense with a rebuilding front seven a concern. "Last year, we had the big guys up front with experience," Rogers says in comparing the 2003 and 2004 defensive units. "This year, we are little quicker and faster. Also, the linebackers we have, AT (Antarrious Williams) and Travis (Travis Williams), are faster than DT (Dontarrious Thomas) and Karlos (Karlos Dansby). In the secondary we are pretty much the same. I think we are a little better overall as far as talent and speed, but as far as being smart about playing the game I think last year's defense was better."

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