Savage Trying to Win Starting Role

Aairon Savage made his move at free safety during the spring and will have a chance to be the starter when Auburn kicks off its season on Sept. 2 against Washington State.

Auburn, Ala.--With three-year starter Will Herring moving to linebacker, the starting job at free safety became open for the taking at the beginning of spring drills.

Redshirt freshman Aairon Savage was at cornerback behind five veterans and was competing with two more redshirts before making the move to free safety early in the spring.

He was competing at the new position with two unproven players, Tristan Davis and Lorenzo Ferguson, and ended the spring with a start with the first unit in the A-Day game.

"I've progressed a bit, but I still have a long ways to go," Savage says. "There are still some ins and outs and things you have to catch being at the position. I've come a way, but I still have a long way to go."

Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp says that the starting position is still up for grabs heading into the fall, just like every position on the defense.

"Aairon just needs the opportunity to play," Muschamp notes. "He just hasn't played safety much, but he's going to be good football player here at Auburn.

"Getting the best 11 on the field is what we need to do."

Savage, who may also have a chance to return punts, delivers a jarring blow to tailback Tre Smith on an imcomplete pass during A-Day.

With the help of Davis and Ferguson, both in their third year at Auburn, Savage was able to make strides at free safety, but still says that learning a new system and a new position was the hardest aspect this spring.

"Knowing everything (was the toughest adjustment)," he says. "Communicating with the other safety and the corners and communicating the call. It's just knowing the defense."

Savage, who probably has the best pass coverage skills of the three, adds that having Davis and Ferguson there to push for playing time is good for the team.

"Competition is what is going to keep us on top," he says. "Without competition it's nothing. We love to compete in the secondary. Everybody out there loves to compete. Like Muschamp says, the best 11 are going to be out there."

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