Quick Change: Freshman Making a Move

Patrick Trahan comments about playing his new position for the Auburn defense.

Auburn, Ala.--Veteran Auburn assistant football coach Joe Whitt is obviously a persistent person.

On Thursday, his lobbying paid dividends as true freshman Patrick Trahan decided to take Whitt's suggestion to give outside linebacker a try, making the move closer to the line of scrimmage from strong safety.

"He is a kid who has a chance," says Whitt, who has been coaching linebackers or defensive ends at Auburn since 1981.

"He has a good frame, good size," Whitt says. "We just have to get him over there and see what he can do. You never know."

Patrick Trahan

Whitt notes that the freshman from New Orleans has lots of ability. "He has the speed and he has size and he has instincts," the coach says. "He was in our (summer) camp. In fact, he came to our camp a couple of years so I have seen him before. I had more work with him in camp than I have had with him since he came to Auburn."

Trahan says he likes to play safety, but can see himself fitting in well at linebacker. However, he realizes it will be an uphill battle to reach his goal of seeing game action as a true freshman.

Trahan was a standout an several Auburn football camps.

"It is going to be a hard fight for me to try to get some playing time," he says. "It is going to be hard for me because I really want to play. I really have my mind set on playing. If I don't play, it is going to be for a good reason and I just have to work harder for next season, get bigger and learn what I have to do."

Trahan notes that he is a novice at the linebacker position, but he is willing to learn. He says that he was a safety throughout high school who lined up for a few plays at linebacker and doesn't understand the position.

"All of the coaches suggested it to me and told me that is where they see me because of the attributes I have to be a good outside linebacker," he says. "I really prefer to play safety, but I saw that move was the best move for me and the best for the team so I decided to make that move."

AU head coach Tommy Tuberville says with the Tigers being a linebacker short on the weakside with Merrill Johnson expected to be out of action for several more weeks with a dislocated elbow suffered in preseason drills, help is needed at the position.

"We need somebody to step in and give us some depth there," the coach says. "He is one of those we felt like could get on the field a little bit quicker (at linebacker) because we have a lot more depth at safety than we do at linebacker."

Trahan is shown in a punt block drill with Coach Eddie Gran.

Trahan says he realizes there will be plenty of competition for playing time at linebacker, too, even before Johnson returns. "Right now I am playing the Will (weakside) and I have competition with AT (Antarrious Williams) and Tray (Tray Blackmon). I think everybody at the position is really talented. It is going to be a hard fight for me to get some playing time this year."

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