Admiration Society: Coaches Praise Rosegreen

Gene Chizik and Tommy Tuberville appreciate their senior safety, who has been named SEC Defensive Player of the Week.

Auburn, Ala.--Gene Chizik, the defensive coordinator and position coach for Junior Rosegreen and the other Auburn safeties, says he is a big fan of his hard-nosed senior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

On Monday, the Southeastern Conference announced that Rosegreen is Auburn's first SEC Defensive Player of the season. Chizik says that the award couldn't go to a more deserving guy.

"We needed somebody to step up for us in a big game like that and make the big plays and Junior sure did that," Chizik says.

Chizik joked that he expected Rosegreen to make four interceptions going into the game. However, in pre-game preparations prior to Auburn's 34-10 victory over Tennessee that included five interceptions, with four by Rosegreen, the defensive coordinator was serious about the need to force UT's freshman quarterbacks into making mistakes.

"We talked turnovers all week, we preached turnovers all week and we got them," Chizik says. "When you get six turnovers, it is tough to lose."

Gene Chizik has a hug for Rosegreen on Saturday night at Neyland Stadium.

Rosegreen tied a 65-year old SEC record with his four interceptions and set an Auburn record. His first interception came in the second quarter on Auburn's 31-yard line. He picked off a bomb thrown by Brent Schaeffer that bounced off cornerback Montae Pitts' hands. That led to an AU field goal and a 17-3 Auburn lead.

Rosegreen's second interception came in the third quarter in the end zone after Erik Ainge was pressured by freshman defensive end Quinton Groves as Auburn was protecting a 31-3 lead.

The senior's final two interceptions came in the fourth quarter and were both made against Ainge, who predicted that Auburn's secondary would not be able to contain UT's passing game and offense, which was ranked first in the SEC going into the showdown of unbeaten Top 10 teams. Rosegreen notes that he and his teammates in the secondary were not amused by the freshman's remarks.

"I had a lot of fun out there," says Rosegreen, who called the victory over Tennessee his favorite football game as an Auburn Tiger. "Seeing all my defensive teammates rallying over me, having fun with me and telling me that they love me and they are happy that I showed everybody what I am made of is something I will never forget."

Rosegreen is tied for the national lead in interceptions. With six stops vs. the Volunteers he is third on the team in tackles behind linebackers Travis Williams and Antarrious Williams.

The senior safety was also named the national defensive player of the week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

"I'm just thankful for the award I got," Rosegreen says. "If it wasn't for God, my teammates and my coaches I wouldn't be able to make this thing happen. I'm just thankful to my teammates and the Lord for blessing me."

Head coach Tommy Tuberville says that Rosegreen has earned the respect of his peers. "Being a key part of this football team is important him and seeing this team be successful is important to him. Junior is a great leader for us. Nobody is going to outwork Junior Rosegreen."

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