Lineman Ready For Expanded Role

Auburn, Ala.--Noseguard Josh Thompson is looking forward to what he hopes will be an expanded role with the 2005 Auburn football team's defense.

The redshirt sophomore spent part of his spring training working at the three technique (tackle spot) in addition to his normal duties at noseguard. He played well enough in that role that defensive line coach Don Dunn noted after spring training that Thompson could see significant action at tackle this fall.

However, until this week, Thompson concentrated on noseguard in practice, but his role is now expanding.

"We have a Grizzly front (short yardage) so I will be there at tackle for that," Thompson says. "Hopefully, I will get to work it some during all of the situations."

Dunn says he isn't sure how much tackle Thompson will play this season, but wants to make sure he is 100 percent ready to handle the assignment if he is needed to see significant action there in addition to sharing time at the nose with senior Tommy Jackson.

Josh Thompson makes a tackle last season.

Dunn says he is looking for one a couple of players to step up at tackle in addition to senior Wayne Dickens. He says that backups Neil Brown, Pat Sims and Tez Doolittle have made strides since spring training, but adds there is room for improvement.

Thompson agrees that the interior defensive front can get better and he has been part of a group of D-linemen who have regularly stayed after practice to get extra work.

"We are coming along but we have a lot to work on," Thompson says. "It is getting tougher every day. We are just trying to step up all of our games. It is a learning process now and the younger guys are picking it up. We should be getting everything in pretty soon and getting ready for Georgia Tech.

"We just need to keep doing what we are doing, which is flying off the ball, hustling and giving plenty of effort," Thompson adds. "If everybody gives effort, we will be okay."

With David Gibbs taking over as defensive coordinator from Gene Chizik, the Tigers will continue to base their defense out of a 4-3 look. For the noseguards and tackles, there aren't going to be major changes.

"What we are doing is basically the same," Thomspon says. "A few odds and ends have changed, but it is basically the same defense."

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