Position Change for Versatile Tiger

Running backs coach Eddie Gran talks about the move of Tristan Davis back to tailback.

Auburn, Ala.--Junior to be Tristan Davis has changed positions again and will be working with the running backs during spring practice 2007. He played sparingly at safety and tailback as a freshman in 2005 and was a backup safety last season.

"Whatever is best for the team, Tristan has been that way for us," says running backs coach Eddie Gran. "I'm like that and all of the coaches are like that. Coach (Will) Muschamp felt like it was the right position, I felt like it was the right position. Coach (Tommy) Tuberville has done a great job of moving guys when he felt like they needed to be moved. I think that's where his forte is. It's a great move for Auburn football, that's what I think.

"He's already done it twice and he'd do anything for this football team. He just wants to win. That tells you about his character. We can try to get Tristan running the ball down hill, bringing some of that speed and using him on some reverses and just getting the ball into some playmakers' hands."

Davis was a special teams weapon for the Tigers in 2006.

Davis ran 11 times for 209 yards in 2005 before moving back to the secondary. But with Carl Stewart permanently moved to fullback and the loss Kenny Irons and Tre Smith from last year's group of tailbacks the decision was made for Davis to move again. Heading into the fall Auburn has just two tailbacks with any experience and one of those is Ben Tate, who played in just eight games.

"We've always gone into the spring or fall with four guys," Gran explains. "So now you've got Brad (Lester), Mario (Fannin), Ben, those three and now you've got your fourth and that would be Tristan. You keep evaluating your personnel throughout the whole year. We just felt like as a staff and where we're at that you're an injury away from having two backs or three backs. We don't want to do that even with Enrique (Davis) coming in. You don't want to put yourself in that situation. Tristan has so much explosion. With the guys we signed on defense we feel like they can come in and help. We felt like this would be best suited for the Auburn University football team."

Davis started one game last season at safety and had 13 tackles all season. Part of the decision to move Davis had to do with young talent at safety with players like Aairon Savage, Zac Etheridge, who redshirted last season, and signee Michael McNeil.

Gran, who also coordinates the Auburn special teams, says that Davis will remain as a kickoff returner this season. "So will Mario Fannin, so will Ben Tate," he adds.

"Brad Lester is our starting tailback," Gran notes. "I would say Ben is number two and then Mario and Tristan. You could say Ben and Mario, but Ben has the upper hand because he has the experience."

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