Brock Working Hard To Learn And Lead

Redshirt sophomore Eric Brock talks about his move to a starting role, his new position coach and defensive coordinator and the improvements he has made in his game.

Auburn, Ala.--After redshirting as a freshman out of Benjamin Russell High School in 2003 and playing a very limited backup role for the Tigers on defense in 2004, Eric Brock says that he is ready to step up and take his game to another level in 2005.

Brock, who is getting a look as the first stringer at strong safety opposite Will Herring during spring drills, explains that his biggest adjustment to his new role will be a mental one. "Will told me that once you are on the first team that it is more of a confidence level thing," he notes. "Your confidence has to go up because you are on the first team. You are expected to know what you are doing so your game has to rise and so does your confidence."

In terms of his football knowledge and ability, Brock says that he feels like he is making solid improvements. "There is a little difference between the free safety and the strong safety, but once you adjust and learn the terminology you settle in," he says. "So, I am feeling comfortable right now."

The young safety also notes that he believes he has made big strides in a very key area of his game over the past year. "I know I was real jumpy last year and I kind of wanted to make this play and make this play too fast," Brock explains.

"You have got to understand that everything they do. They are doing it for a reason. They are showing you something. The more patient you are the more you see the whole field and I think that has picked up for me and I think I am able to flow better and just understand the game."

Auburn's head coach, Tommy Tuberville, adds that he likes what he is seeing out of the talented safety early on in his stint as a starter. "He has matured physically and mentally and he is really understanding how to play defense," the coach says. "He has got a chance to be a real good one.

"Now, he has just got to show it when we have 11-on-11," Tuberville adds. "He has got a lot to learn fundamentally, but he has worked real hard on them for two years and I think he has got a chance to be a starter for us if he keeps improving."

Eric Brock is going through his first season of spring drills as a first team player.

Along with trying to improve his game and crack the starting lineup, Brock and all of the other secondary players are learning the ropes from their new position coach and defensive coordinator David Gibbs.

However, Brock notes that the adjustment to a new coach has been nearly seamless to this point. "I think, pretty much, that everybody is feeling comfortable and everybody is adjusting pretty well," he says. "Overall, Coach Gibbs is kind of one of those players' coaches. He kind of sees where you are coming from because he has played the position."

The talented sophomore adds that the overall feel of the defense under Gibbs remains unchanged, but there are some new additions. "Coach Gibbs is the new guy so he is pretty much trying to get us focused on more bump and run," Brock explains. "It is more of a free look here, but we are kind of disguising it a little more and kind of mixing up our coverages. Overall it is pretty much the same mentality of the calls. It is just adding a little twist in to it."

One change that Coach Gibbs is instituting is that he is making all of his safeties learn both the strong and free safety position and Brock says that is something that is really going to help him understand the game much better.

"I think, once you know both positions you see the field better," he notes. "You get a better feel of the game because at anytime the offense could shift it over and you could become the free safety at any moment and Will could become the strong safety so I think it helps a lot to see both positions."

Brock is only a redshirt sophomore and is still learning a lot about the game, his new coach and being a first team player. However, he says that once you take over a starting role, whether it is for spring practice or for all 11 games, you also take over a leadership role on the team.

"It kind of helps being here in the system for about two years," he says. "The young guys are still adjusting and some of them are coming from corner to safety so you have just got to be easy with them and let them know the little things because they are going to miss stuff along the way. But, I feel like there is more of a leadership role with that first team and just helping the younger guys out."

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