Looking For Improvement On Defense

Strong safety Junior Rosegreen and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik discuss the Auburn defense.

Los Angeles, Calif.--If everybody on the Auburn defense had played as well as redshirt sophomore Junior Rosegreen, the Tigers would likely be basking in the glory of an opening night national TV victory over Southern California.

However, Rosegreen was one of too few standouts for an Auburn defense that allowed 302 passing yards and 84 on the ground to the Trojans, enabling the home team to take a 24-17 victory.

Junior Rosegreen

"No matter how the offense plays, this defense can win games and we didn't do it," Rosegreen said. "I put this loss on us."

Rosegreen intercepted a pass and caused a fumble to draw praise from head coach Tommy Tuberville, but the strong safety said he can do better. "I did all right, but I made some mistakes," he said. "As a defense we made some good plays and some bad plays. We have to go back to the drawing board and polish up on what we did wrong. We have to get focused for the Western Carolina game and then get ready for the SEC season.

"One thing that I can say about our defense is that even though we made a lot of mistakes we played hard the whole game. Those guys we played know they were in a dog fight. Southern Cal is a good team, but if we hadn't made so many mistakes I feel that we would have won the ball game."

Rosegreen said that he thinks the Auburn defense will improve as the season progresses. Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, who also coaches the secondary, agreed. "I think the kids tried to play hard and they were ready to play. I don't think what happened was anything to do with that. I think we got out there a couple of times and they did a couple of things we hadn't seen before and we got kind of discombobulated. We gave up a couple of big plays when we should have really had a third down stop.

"Granted, this is the first game and you can't really be sure what the opponents are going to do, but you have got to be able to adjust better as a whole defense with the coaches and the players. We didn't do that and it starts with me. I am going to make sure we address that and get that done. We will be better next week, I can tell you that."

Auburn has a light workout scheduled for Tuesday at the football complex as they begin preparations for Western Carolina, which was a 24-3 victor over Liberty last Saturday.

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