Auburn, Ala.--Auburn redshirt freshman linebacker Patrick Trahan has always made plays during practices and scrimmage situations so it was nothing new to see him doing the same thing Saturday against Arkansas State in Auburn's 27-0 victory.
A player recruited as a safety, Trahan is now a full-time linebacker in his second season on the Plains and Saturday showed that the move to the front seven was a smart one for both he and the Tigers. Despite playing a limited number of snaps Trahan was second on the team with five tackles and his four solo stops led the way for Auburn. The New Orleans native says that it was just fun to get back on the field in an actual game again.
"It felt really good," Trahan says. "I made a few mistakes because it was my first time being in a game since Buffalo. It felt kind of funny to me but it was a good experience for me to get in the game. I made a few plays but I made a few mistakes also. The plays I made outweighed the mistakes I made."
Trahan is upset after just missing an interception Saturday.
Coming into the week Trahan says he figured that this might be a chance for him to get some extended playing time with it being the final non-conference game on the schedule. Even with that knowledge Trahan says that he didn't change his approach this week because he prepares each week like it's his week to shine.
"I pretty much treat every game the same," Trahan says. "I got the same amount of reps this week that I got in the Florida and Ole Miss weeks. If the guys in front of me take care of business then I figured I would get to play. We can't take any opponent lightly so every game I get ready like I'm going to play 60 minutes.
"I have to give credit to our scout team because they give us a great look and our coaches get us really prepared," Trahan adds. "At the same time there is no substitution for game time experience. I just try to get as many plays as I can and learn from my mistakes."
Trahan wasn't the only young linebacker to get a lot of playing time as fellow redshirt freshman Tray Blackmon started and played with the first team while sophomores Merrill Johnson and Chris Evans worked with Trahan on the second unit. Trahan says that even though there were bodies rotating in and out that he felt comfortable on the field all the time.
"Merrill and Chris have played a lot," Trahan says. "I'm just trying to get out there and make a name for myself and play. I'm comfortable with everybody because I take reps with the first and second team. I'm just ready to get out there and stay out there."
A player that took a keen eye on the linebackers Saturday was senior Karibi Dede. Once his day was done Dede says he watched all of the young linebackers and thought they did a great job in carrying out assignments despite some offensive movement by the Indians.
"They played well," Dede says. "Merrill, Chris Evans and Patrick Trahan showed that if we need them in the first quarter, third quarter, or crucial situations in the game they can come in and get it done. I was especially impressed with Chris Evans because they were shifting and motioning when he was in there more than when I was at middle linebacker. I'm looking and he's handling it well. He pretty much handled everything and was right on time."
With both Will Herring and Dede seniors this season the Tigers will be looking to find two starters among this group of players along with redshirted players Craig Stevens and Hendrick Leverette. Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp says because of that it was good to get the young guys a lot of work Saturday as a first test run for next season.
"It's great to play those young guys," Muschamp says. "They are the future of the program. Really we're young on defense period but to get guys that haven't that much game time experience is awesome for them."