That was apparent early in his team's 34-17 victory last Saturday night over the Arkansas Razorbacks.
With his team on the verge of falling behind 7-0 after the Razorbacks intercepted a pass on the game's opening possession, Gibbs was literally jumping for joy after a big play from senior cornerback David Irons forced the home team to settle for a very short field goal.
After an 18-yard pass from Robert Johnson to wide receiver Marcus Monk, the Razorbacks were first and goal at the Tiger five. On the next play powerful big back Peyton Hillis was swarmed for no gain on tackles by Antarrious Williams and Will Herring. On second down Johnson's pass to Monk was incomplete.
That set up a third and goal and the Razorbacks went to Hillis again, figuring he could run over Auburn cornerback David Irons in the flat in a one on one situation. However, the Tiger senior made a textbook tackle at the two and the home team settled for a 19-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
"David Gibbs had the right defense called to stop that play," says Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville. "That was big to hold them to just a field goal."
"I had to make that tackle," Irons says. "I stayed in my zone and saw their quarterback throw the short route and I used my closing speed to come up and make the play."
Irons says he expects he will have plenty of opportunities to make plays this Saturday night as his team heads to LSU. He notes that playing the seventh-ranked Bayou Bengals on their home field will be a major test.
"It will be my first time to go to Baton Rouge," Irons notes. "I have heard it is very loud. I am eager to get down there and go against their receivers."
The first-year starter for the Tigers says that LSU has an impressive group of speedy pass catchers. "That is what their team is about," Irons says. "They have a lot of speed and an Olympic guy. I know Coach Gibbs is worried about it, but I will be ready because I see that kind of speed every day in practice going against our receivers."
Irons says that he is a better defensive back than he was to open the season. "Each week I feel like I am getting better," he says. "That is my goal each week--to get better every game I play and help our defense be successful. I want to make plays anytime they want to throw the ball to my side.
"I feel like I played a complete game and played physical football from start to finish vs. Arkansas," says the senior who notes that the Razorback receivers tried to get physical with him, but that didn't bother him at all.
"This week I will be trying to get my first interception," Irons adds. "I know they throw a lot of balls and I am going to be ready for the challenge."
Kickoff for Saturday's game is set for 6:45 p.m. with TV coverage on ESPN.