Gibbs Sees Room For Improvement

Auburn, Ala.--Even though his defense didn't allow a touchdown, new coordinator David Gibbs saw plenty of room for improvement following Saturday's spring football game.

A total of nine points were scored on field goals by John Vaughn, but that wasn't good enough for the first-year defensive coordinator and secondary coach.

"We missed way too many tackles," Gibbs said. "We couldn't tackle Courtney Taylor. He was running through us like we were little kids so we are definitely going to work on fundamentals this week.

"Tackling drill will be emphasized," Gibbs added. "It just looked sloppy. One thing as a football coach is that you don't want to look sloppy and I thought we looked sloppy tackling, which is just fundamental football."

Gibbs did find something to like on Saturday. "They played hard and for the most part it didn't look like we had too many MA's (missed assignments) out there, but again I have got to watch the tape, but I was pleased with the effort and pleased with the guys flying around," Gibbs said.

Looking at the overall picture, Gibbs said, "They (defense) were limited and our offense, they do a good job. They are hard to slow down. Our kids played hard and their kids played hard and we got a lot done.

"I think it was a productive day and hopefully nobody got injured, but we will go watch the film and keep plugging. We have still got two practices left and hopefully we'll get better in those two practices."

A highlight for the crowd of 35,006 at Jordan-Hare Stadium was the play of defensive end Stanley McClover, who was named defensive MVP of the A-Day game. Fellow starter at end, Quentin Groves, had a good game, too.

"Everybody knows that our two defensive ends can play as good of football as anybody in the country and we have just got to keep improving them against the run," Gibbs said.

Stanley McClover sacks Brandon Cox.

"They have a tendency to want to rush the quarterback all the time instead of playing run defense first. Those are the things Coach Price (Terry Price) keeps emphasizing that with them and they have got to learn to do that because you saw today there were a few occasions where we couldn't slow our offense down when they started pounding us. That comes from fundamentals and those defensive ends have got to play the run, you can't just rush the quarterback all day."

Looking at the secondary, Gibbs got a look at everybody on the roster, including Tony Bell, the sophomore safety who just returned to practice on Wednesday.

"Tony got tired," Gibbs noted. "You could tell he hasn't been at practice very long. After about 10 plays he could hardly backpedal and he has got to get in condition. But, he is a big, good looking kid back there running around and he hits people and has he has got to keep practicing and keep getting better and he has got to go to school."

Head coach Tommy Tuberville made Bell miss the first 10 practices while he worked on catching up academically. "If he doesn't take care of his schoolwork then he is not going to be out there," Gibbs said. "All of the young guys looked good to me today. I thought Gandy (safety Steve Gandy) tackled well. (Safety) Tristan Davis tackled well. (First team safety) Eric Brock, I thought he did a good job."

The cornerbacks played close to the line of scrimmage and challenged the receivers with bump and run coverage. In recent seasons under Gene Chizik's coaching, the cornerbacks seldom used that aggressive style.

"It is just that my background is more of being a bump guy and taking the timing away from the passing game, but you have got to have the corners to do it," Gibbs said. "If our guys can continue to improve and get better hopefully we will be able to do it. If not, we will have to back off and play off-man. Right now we are trying to play more bump, but we have a long time before we have to play (Sept. 3 vs. Georgia Tech) so we will make a decision as we go."

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