Junior Defender Stepping Up for the Tigers

Marquies Gunn is playing his best football for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Five games into the 2005 football season, one of the bright spots for an improving Auburn defense has been the play of junior Marquies Gunn.

The 6-4, 258-pound junior was in on seven tackles in Auburn's 48-7 victory over South Carolina. For the season he has 19 tackles, including a team-leading six behind the line of scrimmage. He is fourth overall for the Tigers in total tackles.

Defensive ends coach Terry Price likes what he is seeing from Gunn. ""One of the biggest things he has done is he has become the most physical guy in my group and it shows on Saturday," Price says.

"He plays tough and he plays hard," Price adds. "A combination of those things shows up on the stat sheet. He is executing and making plays and is becoming the leader of our group, which doesn't have any senior leaders."

Marquies Gunn made seven tackles vs. the Gamecocks.

Gunn says that he is pleased with the progress he is making this season. Since stepping up and winning the starting job in August practices, he has been running first string in all five games and his performance vs. South Carolina last Saturday night was impressive.

"I was having a lot of fun running around out there and trying to fly to the football," he says. "I feel like it was my best game. It would be real close because I had a good game against Georgia Tech, too.

"As a team it was our best game on defense," Gunn adds. "It was our best intensity and we are going to try to come back and do it again against Arkansas."

The Tigers, who don't have a game this week, will not be in action until Oct. 15th when they play at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. as the Tigers try to improve their overall record to 5-1 and stay unbeaten in the SEC after opening with victories vs. Mississippi State and South Carolina.

The defense produced a shutout against Mississippi State and came close to earning another against South Carolina. Gunn notes he would have liked to have been part of another one, but the Gamecocks scored against the AU reserves in the fourth quarter. "That was a team thing," he says. "We needed to play a few extra players and they will get better as the season goes along."

Price says that he can see Gunn's confidence growing in his role as a starter after being a reserve the past two years. "There is no question about it," the coach says. "With an extra year under his belt he is playing better and he has a better understanding of where he needs to go and what he needs to do on certain plays, whether it be base fronts or blitzes.

"He is just a more consistent football player," Price adds. "He is playing hard out there and he continues to develop and get better every single week.

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