Freshman Earns Praise For Scrimmage Efforts

This freshman defensive player earned praise from the head coach, the position coach and coordinator David Gibbs.

Auburn, Ala.--Following Auburn's second major scrimmage of the preseason, defensive tackles coach Don Dunn and ends coach Terry Price had few kind words to say about the front four.

The two coaches were not shy about expressing their displeasure of what they had witnessed at the intramural fields on Saturday, but one defensive lineman escaped their extreme displeasure.

Dunn, as well as head coach Tommy Tuberville and defensive coordinator David Gibbs, singled out true freshman defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks as the only bright spot on a day in which the offense out-played the defense most of the scrimmage. In one stretch, the freshman made three straight strong plays and showed the ability to clog up the running legs and pressure the passer.

"Sen'Derrick had a heck of a day and he's probably first team right now," Dunn says. "I know that sounds crazy, but you saw my senior (tackle Wayne Dickens) quit. We're not going to put up with quitters and if they're not tough they need to transfer."

Marks is blessed with strong hands and good feet, both of which help him playing inside on the defensive line.

Whether Dunn was caught up in the heat of the moment by declaring Marks the first stringer remains to be seen, but the true freshman made plays in the backfield all day and stood out in the conditioning drills that the line was forced to do for 30 minutes following the scrimmage.

"He (Dunn) told us from day one that if you don't go out there and give it your all then you're going to get it after practice--and that's what he did," Marks says. "I came up here and worked out with Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall). If you do that you're going to get in shape. I've gained a couple of pounds and it's a little harder, but you've just got to maintain with it."

Marks (6-2, 273 pounds), who was also a high school basketball standout, adds that he gained his mental toughness from his football playing days under Coach Kerry Stevenson at Vigor High School in Prichard, Ala.

"Just go hard," Marks says. "That's what my high school coach taught me--just go hard, and that's what I'm trying to do. I'm surprised (about doing so well) because this is the SEC. But everything we're doing out here, we did it in high school. Everything that he was telling me, that is what is transferring out here."

Following the scrimmage and a 30-minute extra conditioning session for the defensive linemen, Marks noted that his basketball days have helped him with his agility and conditioning as he begins his career as a collegiate football player. He says he hopes to follow in the footsteps of another former Vigor star.

"My high school basketball coach coached (former Auburn great and current Cincinnati Bengal pro-bowler) Willie Anderson and when he got drafted all they talked about was his high school basketball career and how it helps his feet out," Marks says. "He was 6-6, 300 pounds, but it kept him moving. He motivated me a lot. I gave it my all at basketball and it's carrying over to the football field."

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