Auburn Safety Working On Being Physical

Strong safety Eric Brock is looking to be physical in the role played last year by Junior Rosegreen.

Auburn, Ala.--In his first year as a starter on the Auburn defense, strong safety Eric Brock has made a personal goal to be physical, help stop the run and be a leader in the secondary.

"I heard a lot of noise about how our defense is soft and we're a finesse bunch, and as a safety you really don't like to hear that," Brock says. "I try to come down and be physical against the running backs and receivers and just let them know that the Auburn defense is going to set the tone and not their offense. I try to be more physical and try to come out and set the tone."

Brock is the fourth leading tackler on the team after two games with six solos and two assists. He had a strong performance in last Saturday's shutout of Mississippi State with several tackles near the line of scrimmage as well as his second career interception.

"He is doing good," says defensive coordinator David Gibbs. "He got beat early in the game in man coverage, which shouldn't happen, but he played the run better and made a good bit of improvement from the first game to the second. I was pleased with him. Even though he dinged his knee up in practice last week he still went out there and played pretty good. I was pleased with him. He had a good game."

Eric Brock is in his first season as a starter.

The redshirt sophomore says the run defense was the difference on that side of the ball in the loss to Georgia Tech and the win over the Bulldogs. The Yellow Jackets tallied 139 yards on the ground while State rushed for just 81.

"If you can't stop the run they can set you up for anything else--play action and boots," Brock says. "First and foremost you have to stop the run and I feel that as long as I do more part in helping to stop the run our defense should continue to have success."

The starting strong safety on last year's 13-0 ball club was Junior Rosegreen, a player well known for his physical nature and hard hits. During the offseason, Brock says he worked hard on adding weight so he could step into that role in 2005.

"I really focused on that this summer," he says. "I'm up 13 or 14 pounds. I'm trying to become more solid and really working hard. (Strength and conditioning) Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall) and Coach Loscalzo (Jason Loscalzo) really did a good job of trying to get the importance of upper body as well as lower body."

Brock, 6-1 and 214 pounds, was one of the better special teams players last season, but hasn't been a big contributor in that area this season even though he would like the opportunity.

"I have backup roles on special teams this year mainly because I'm starting (on defense)," he says. "Anytime I can help on special teams and Coach Gran calls my number and I'm there. Special teams won us a couple of games last year and it's just as important as offense and defense as far as I'm concerned."

The Tigers will be heavily favored in their next two games, but Brock notes he won't have a hard time staying focused against Ball State and Western Kentucky now that he has a larger role on the team.

"Knowing that you're running with the ones and that your team is looking for you to contribute like a one should, that has really inspired me to just go out and do my best," he says. "I do everything I can for the team and work hard at what I do and give it my all."

Brock and the 1-1 Tigers will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday vs. 0-2 Ball State.

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