Wilhite Hoping Third Game Is The Charm

Cornerback Jonathan Wilhite is hoping for some big plays in his favor this week as the Tigers face Tulane.

Auburn, Ala.--For Jonathan Wilhite the last two games haven't been ones to remember as far as he's concerned.

Despite the fact that the Tigers followed up a loss to Arkansas with a win over second-ranked Florida, Wilhite has been on the bad end of a touchdown pass in each game. For someone who prides himself on being a shut-down corner, Wilhite says it's been tough to watch each game, but he knows that it's all part of playing the position.

"For a corner you want to have a short term memory," he says. "Things like that are going to happen. We are a bump and run team and man to man. Those guys are on scholarship just like us and sometimes that's going to happen. I feel like when I get a play made on me I come back and say it's not happening again. In a situation like this you have to stay positive because sometimes it's going to happen."

Wilhite responded well to the play last week along with the entire Auburn defense. After being bombarded by the Florida Gators in the first half, the Tigers came back to shut down Chris Leak and the explosive Florida offense the final 30 minutes of the game. Wilhite says that was a watershed moment for the defense because it turned the game and possibly the season around for the Tigers.

"It means a lot for the defense and for the defensive coordinator," Wilhite says. "The Auburn football program pushes ‘finish' in games. We came out lackadaisical in the first half. Coach (Will Muschamp) talked to us at halftime and a lot of guys stepped up and made plays. I think in the second half we just played with more emotion. We got the crowd into it and finished on a good note."

Wilhite says that he's looking forward to facing a talented Tulane pass offense this week.

It didn't take long for things to turn around for good as Auburn's defense forced a three and out in the first series of the second half before blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown. Wilhite says that the key to the improved play can be found up front where the defensive line controlled play and gave the defensive backs a fighting chance against a deep and talented Florida receiving corps.

"The first series our defensive line did an amazing job," Wilhite says. "In the first half we had to recover a little longer. When you get pressure on the quarterback it makes it easier on the corners. I take my hat off to our D-line. They pressured and made our secondary look better. That's what the defense does is make each other look better."

This week will be an another test for Wilhite and the Auburn secondary as quarterback Lester Ricard and the Tulane offense coming into Jordan-Hare Stadium as one of the nation's better passing teams. This season Ricard has thrown for 1,484 yards and 12 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Wilhite says he's looking forward to the challenge of facing the Green Wave on homecoming.

"As a defensive back you appreciate games like this," Wilhite says. "Getting beat last week and the week before I just want to go out and try to redeem myself by making some plays."

A native of Louisiana, this is a special game for Wilhite. Already with one win against a home state school (LSU) this season, Wilhite says he's looking for number two vs. the school from New Orleans, but he says it won't be easy.

"I have a couple of buddies that go there," Wilhite says. "They are going to take this game very seriously. We're not going to be able to just throw our helmets on the field and win the game. I'm looking forward to playing Tulane because they are from Louisiana. We'll see what happens."


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