Freshman Excited About His First College Game

This freshman football player and his coach talks about making the adjustment to college football.

Auburn, Ala--Steve Gandy, a true freshman from Waynesboro, Miss., is hoping to see playing time at strong safety and on special teams on Saturday in his first collegiate football game against the Louisiana-Monroe Indians.

"I didn't want to redshirt, so I had to come out and prove myself," he says. "I'll play special teams. Just as long as I'm out there playing. Hopefully, I'll be able to play a lot the first game. I'm going to prepare myself to."

Gandy and true freshman Tony Bell were highly recruited safeties last year and have a chance to make an immediate impact in their first season. "We know that Steve is going to be able to help our football team on special teams for sure," says Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. "It's just a hard learning process for those guys when the come in and everything gets thrown right at them. We're going to bring them along week by week and see what happens."

Steve Gandy arrived on campus earlier to do summer workouts.

Gandy has been working with the second and third team defenses, but he'll have a chance to earn more playing time as he gains experience. "I just need to work on the little things that make a big difference," he says.

"I'm pretty fast, but I need to work on my feet," he adds. "I'll continue to get better. I know how to play. I know how to tackle. Once I learn the system, there's no question in my mind that I'll get to play.

"The defense isn't too hard to learn," the 6-1, 190-pound strong safety adds. "Once you know it, then you know it and you won't have to think when you're playing, and I'm still thinking sometimes. Once you know it, you can just react."

The transition from high school to college was an easy one for Gandy. He got a head start by moving to Auburn early in the summer to work out and learn from the upperclassmen. Gandy also came to Auburn with a friend of his. "Me and (true-freshman fullback) Mike (McLaughlin) are from the same high school, and he's somebody I trust," Gandy says. "He trusts me and we've been playing football together for a while. We know a lot about each other, and we're pretty close."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Auburn is recruiting another player from Wayne County High, Jerrell Powe, one of the nation's top defensive line prospects this season. Powe spent time with this former high school teammates in Auburn this summer and the Tigers have an excellent chance to sign Powe.

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