Auburn, Ala.--The 2006 Auburn defense undoubtedly has more depth than any other defense in the Tommy Tuberville era going back to 1999. The number of quality athletes available in the secondary was a big reason why the Tigers knocked off LSU on Saturday 7-3.
With Auburn clinging to a late four-point advantage and two of the top three cornerbacks on the sidelines, the dime package needed help from three redshirt freshmen--Jerraud Powers, Aairon Savage and Walter McFadden.
"The whole year from last year when we first got on campus to now, we've been forming a connection with each other and bonding to where we're best friends," Powers says of his relationship with Savage and McFadden. "I can call them for anything so when they're out there on the field with me I don't have any doubt that they're not going to do their job. I know they are going to do their job and that's the type of mentality we have with each other."
Veteran safety Eric Brock made the hit on Craig "Buster" Davis just yards away from the end zone, preserving the victory as time ran out.
Powers, who played for most of the game after Jonathan Wilhite went out with a hamstring injury in the second quarter, says it's been a big few days for him and his phone has been ringing off the hook.
"It was really my first big game playing in as an Auburn Tiger," he says. "The couple of people I wanted to talk to were my high school coach (Jerry Adcock), and I called my mother before I called anybody. She didn't even get to see the game because she was at a wedding so she was really down about it because everybody was blowing her (phone) up. My phone was ringing off the hook and it was fun for people to notice me from back home.
"I told (my mom) when the replay comes on, but she's heard about every play I made from my friends and other family members who were there," he adds.
At a young age Powers is already one of the better cover cornerbacks on the team.
Powers has been slowed with a shoulder injury since mid-August, but has overcome that and will likely play a larger role in the secondary as both a nickelback and at corner, especially against Buffalo coming up on Saturday.
"Sunday I worked with the ones because Patrick Lee was still sick," Powers notes. "If he overcomes his illness, he was the next guy in the rotation with me, so I'm pretty sure him and me will battle it out or whatnot. I'm not sure how Coach (Will) Muschamp will look at it. I just know I've got to be ready to play this week."