Davis Back On Defense Once Again

Tristan Davis talks about being back at safety and getting ready for next season.

Auburn, Ala.-—For Tristan Davis the 2005 season has been one of constant change. Starting first as a safety and then moving to tailback the redshirt freshman has been the go-between this season between defense and offense. After finishing the regular season as a tailback, Davis is again moving back to safety as the Tigers begin preparations for Wisconsin.

"Being back at safety is kind of a challenge," Davis says. "I think it's harder for me to pick up defense. Being with Coach (David) Gibbs helps (the transition) and also my teammates. Steve Gandy is one of my teammates and he helps me out a lot. It's a struggle, but I'm getting back into the swing of things.

"Sometimes me and Steve might be at home and he'll call out something like personnel and I'll tell him what I have," he adds. "We don't do it that often, it's not like we're geeks. But, he quizzes me sometimes about stuff."

Davis is expected to challenge for playing time at safety next season.

One of the surprise players on offense for the Tigers this season, Davis showed a burst of breakaway speed on several occasions and finished the year with 11 carries for 209 yards and two touchdowns. His longest came on a 75-yard touchdown against Kentucky. Despite those numbers safety may actually be his best position because of his penchant for hard hits and he says that having the chance to practice there during the bowl week should help him next spring.

"It's real good right now because I'm getting a lot of practice time," Davis says. "I don't have to cut back on reps because the bowl game is a long way off. I get a lot of repetitions because I don't have to worry about the ones going too much. I hope I'll be ready for the spring, but if I have to move back to running back I will."

With a cupboard full of running backs and help needed at safety, there's little doubt that Davis' future is on defense. That's good news for defensive coordinator David Gibbs who says that Davis has a chance to be a very good player for the Tigers before he leaves.

"I always want Tristan back. I think he can be a special defensive player. He is as good a kid as you will ever meet--positive, smart, typical of the kind of kids we play with here at Auburn, a special guy."

Another position Davis likely has a future playing is on the kickoff return team. Auburn's fastest timed player last spring, Davis has shown he can run the football and next season he could team up with Brad Lester to give the Tigers another top return tandem after the team led the SEC in kickoff returns this season with Devin Aromashodu handling the duties with Lester. Davis says he can't wait for the opportunity to make something happen on special teams.

"I'm looking forward to that," Davis says. "Coach Gran has already said that me and Brad are the frontrunners for the job. I really wanted the job this year, but I guess it's coming at the right time. Devin did an excellent job this year and so did Brad. I guess it's time for me to step up at one of those spots."

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