Young Safety Making Progress

Redshirt freshman Steve Gandy is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Steve Gandy didn't have the opportunity to play safety in the opener, but he was a busy redshirt freshman in the secondary and on special teams for Auburn's second game of the 2005 football season.

Gandy, a former star at Wayne County High in Waynesboro, Miss., contributed three tackles in Auburn's 28-0 SEC opening victory over Mississippi State last Saturday.

"It went pretty good," Gandy tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I had fun. I knew a lot of their players from high school. I really enjoyed it and had a pretty good game. The most important thing is we won the game."

His former high school teammate, defensive end Willie Evans, had Mississippi State's only sack of the contest. He says he enjoyed talking to Evans after the game along with Mississippi State quarterback Omarr Conner and linebacker Gabe O'Neal.

Steve Gandy (left) makes a hit in a tackling drill.

Gandy says the conversations were low key with a lot of talk about how family members are doing, but he notes that several Bulldogs told him that they believe Auburn is the team to beat in the SEC West.

David Gibbs, who is Auburn's first-year secondary coach as well as defensive coordinator, says that he believes the 6-1, 192 safety is making progress.

"Gandy is doing well," the coach says. "He got to play some last week. It was his first time out and he did a good job. He still has some things he needs to work on, but he is learning both positions, both strong safety and free safety, so he has double the work, but he is doing a good job."

Gandy agrees with Gibbs that he has more to learn. "I am working on everything trying to get better," he says. "It may seem like a little thing, but it can make a difference on the field when everything is happening so fast out there. Little things can make a difference."

There are no signs from Gandy or other Auburn players that they are overly impressed with themselves despite getting a shutout vs. Mississippi State.

"We have a long way to go," the redshirt freshman says. "We don't start conference play again for two more games. We have got to get better and do the things that Auburn is known for doing. Defensively, we have to go out and play our game and everything will come out all right.

"In the secondary, we improved from the Georgia Tech game to Mississippi State a whole lot," Gandy adds. "I think the whole defense improved a whole lot. It felt good to win. In the locker room everybody was excited. Nobody wanted to lose. Hopefully, we won't have any more losing business and keep trucking along every week with more wins."

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