Savage Giving AU Solid Play at Safety

Auburn, Ala.--With a half of season of starting experience behind him, Aairon Savage is hoping to be part of a defensive group that makes significant improvements in the coming weeks.

The 5-11, 191-pound free safety, who led the Tigers in tackles last week with 11, says his team's Saturday game against second-ranked Florida offers a chance to bounce back after a disappointing loss to Arkansas.

"It's an opportunity," Savage says. "Anytime a team has a good passing game it is an opportunity for our secondary and for the defense to make plays. That is all we ask for."

Making big plays has been an issue for the Tigers. Auburn goes into game seven with just three forced fumbles. The pass interception numbers aren't any better with just three picks in six games.

"We have to play the ball better and concentrate," Savage says when talking about interceptions. "As long as we do that, the interceptions will happen."

Aairon Savage is a redshirt freshman from Albany, Ga.

The sophomore dropped a would-be interception on the final drive of Auburn's victory at South Carolina. Fellow safety Eric Brock dropped one last week vs. Arkansas. Savage hopes to have chances to make big plays this week as the Tigers face one of the University of Florida's all-time most prolific passers, senior quarterback Chris Leak.

"He is a great athlete with a strong arm," the Auburn safety says. "We are going to have to play our best against him. They are going to bring their A game and we are going to bring ours."

Savage, who made the move from cornerback to safety in spring training, says he enjoys playing the position. "I feel more comfortable," he says. "Any time you step out there and you know you have the other 10 guys with you, it feels good. We have good camaraderie."

He adds that the defense as a whole has a goal to make major improvements this week as the Tigers face the Gators, who are 6-0 this year after finishing 9-3 in 2005. "Anytime we have the opportunity to step on the field we are trying to get better whether it is a game or practice," he says. "We are working to try to be perfect. Perfection is our main goal."

In Auburn's previous game against a Top 10 opponent, a 7-3 victory vs. LSU, Savage showed he could play with the big boys. He was named the coaching staff's co-defensive player of the game.

Auburn, 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC, will face a Florida squad that is playing about as well as any team in the country. The 6:45 p.m. CDT game at Jordan-Hare Stadium will be televised by ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

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