"No Room For Softies," Tiger Defender Says

Physical freshman Steve Gandy is in line for more playing time.

Auburn, Ala.--Steve Gandy is excited about the rest of the 2005 season after coming through with a strong performance in his first collegiate start last Saturday vs. the Ole Miss Rebels.

The redshirt freshman safety contributed to Auburn's 27-6 victory with four solo tackles, two assists and an intercepted pass which he returned 29 yards to set up a field goal.

"I couldn't have asked for a better start or a better game to start in," Gandy says. "I am really excited about the way I played and the way our team played as a whole, especially our defense."

Steve Gandy's second quarter interception helped the Tigers take a double-digits lead at halftime vs. Ole Miss.

Gandy's interception just before halftime was his first in a game as an Auburn player. In spring training he showed a knack for making interceptions as he battled Eric Brock for the starting job that Brock won to open the season.

"I was just thinking about trying to take the interception to the house," he says. "I probably should have taken it the other way because my blockers were on that side of the field, but once you get the ball you are so anxious you just run. I just stepped out of bounds before I fumbled or did anything dumb that would hurt the team."

There is a good chance that Gandy will be in the starting lineup when the Tigers hit the field on noon this Saturday for an SEC road game at Kentucky. Defensive coordinator David Gibbs says to look for both Gandy and Brock to see playing time at strong safety.

"It was fun getting to start against Ole Miss," Gandy says. "It came down to Auburn and Ole Miss when I was picking a college. I know a lot of the people on their team and a lot of people from my hometown were watching. I wanted to send a message to people at home that I am doing good. With the Coach Tubs thing with Ole Miss, it is kind of a rivalry, too, so I just wanted to go out and play hard."

Head coach Tommy Tuberville and Gibbs say that one of the best parts of Gandy's game is his physical style when the pads go on. "That is the only way I know how to play," Gandy says. "That is how I was in high school and that is the way I am now. I like to go out there and hit and run, hit and run. That is a big part of football.

"I think the most physical man is going to win most of the time," he adds. "You can play soft, but on defense there is really no room for softies. I just like to go out and every chance I get and hit hard."


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