Pitts Growing After Tough Transition Period

Montae Pitts talks about spring practice, the talent that he sees in the Auburn secondary and how much he has grown as a player over the past couple of years.

Auburn, Ala.--Montae Pitts admits that he has had a long hard journey from a high profile recruit who had just graduated from Loachapoka High School to an experienced, veteran starter for one of the biggest and best college football programs in the country.

"I was coming from a 1A school and when you come from a 1A school to a big SEC school there is a lot you have to learn," Pitts explains. "I mean we were so basic in high school, but now everything is so technical. You have got to be a certain amount of yards off the ball, you have got to read the quarterback, read his shoulder, read the tight end. You have to do so much stuff, but I think I have gotten better and I am still just trying to get better as the days go by."

The talented junior, who had some of his best practice days as a college player this spring, adds that making that transition was a very difficult process for him to wrap his hands around, but notes that it has really helped him mature as a player.

"I was getting yelled at everyday, but it really wasn't my fault," he explains about his early days on the Plains. "It was a whole new system for me, but I just had to watch film, ask questions and ask some of the veteran guys and then I learned. So, you are going to mess up, but just don't try to make the same mistakes over and over just try to learn from them and correct them."

Pitts says that now he is even enjoying taking on the role of a veteran on the team. "I just like the leadership role, even though Stanley (McClover) is out there and Travis (Williams), well he is hurt now, but Travis is a big leader on the team," Pitts explains. "We have a lot of leaders and we are a team and that is what got us to 13-0 last year. We aren't really worried about who is the biggest star on the team, we are just worried about winning and playing together."

Montae Pitts makes a tackle on Devin Aromashodu during one of the spring scrimmage sessions.

The speedy corner also notes that while he has been working to help lead the younger players in the right direction he has noticed that there is quite a bit of talent running around in the Tigers' defensive backfield this year.

"Yeah," he says about noticing a larger number of talented athletes in the secondary during spring drills. "Anthony is coming around. Lorenzo Ferguson, he is getting pretty good. Coach has had him at safety and corner, but now he is just putting him at corner. Patrick Lee is working in the nickel and at corner and we have got (Kevin) Hobbs.

"I mean we are pretty deep in the secondary this year," Pitts continues. "You know, we have a few experienced players and a lot of inexperienced players, but I think we will be able to work together and get each other ready for the game."

Along with noticing the play of the youngsters working at corner, Pitts also says he has been impressed with the progress of Eric Brock, who he calls the most improved player of the spring.

"He has been flying around the field and hitting people," he notes. "Sometimes he is wrong, but he is hustling hard, and sometimes I'm wrong. He has got a big spot to fill replacing Junior (Rosegreen), but I think he has done a pretty good job and he is going to be a pretty good player."

Along with assuming a leadership role and helping the younger DBs progress throughout the spring, Pitts and the rest of the cornerbacks are having to work on learning how to play much more press man coverage due to new defensive coordinator David Gibb's more aggressive style.

However, the junior says that is a task that he is enjoying. "Yeah, I mean that is what the pro scouts are looking for," he says. "Anybody can play zone, but who can lock down a wide receiver playing the whole game man to man. It is going to be a big help to us in the SEC with the blitzes that we have and the personnel that we have out there. It is going to help us out here and if we are lucky enough to go to the next level it's going to help us out there."

Pitts also says that he plans on spending a lot of time over the summer to improve his technique in press coverage, and adds that he will be watching the work of a former SEC standout cornerback to help him get things down pat.

"I have a lot of athleticism, but I just want to work on my footwork, my technique, hand placement and just pressuring the receivers," he explains. "I just want to work on all my stuff in press. I can play off, but in the league you have got to play press and be able to lock a man down. I just want to work on the little things and coach has some film on Champ Bailey so I am going to take that film and just watch Champ and try to get better and learn from him."

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