Trying To Bounce Back From Loss Angeles

Senior safety Travaris Robinson discusses how the Auburn secondary is trying to overcome the pass coverage problems that plagued the Tigers on Monday night.

Auburn, Ala.--After a less than impressive start to the 2002 season by the Auburn secondary, senior free safety Travaris Robinson says he expects that AU fans will see improved play in game two.

The Tigers open their home football season at 4 p.m. on Saturday with a game vs. the 1-0 Western Carolina Catamounts. A major portion of Auburn's shortened practice week following Monday night's 24-17 loss in Los Angeles was spent on correcting pass coverage errors made in that game.

"We were very active to the ball and things like that, but we have just got to work on the fundamentals of the defense," Robinson says. "We kind of messed up a little bit on certain plays. I am not going to say that caused us to lose. That was a good ball team we played against and we played one of the best quarterbacks I have ever played against. So, you know, we have just got to keep working.

"It is good that it happened to us early in the season and not late," Robinson says. "It kind of put us back to reality and kind of set us back a page and let us stay focused on what we have to do."

Free safety Travaris Robinson played cornerback last season.

For many Tigers, a chance to play another game can't come soon enough. T-Rob is among that number. "Everybody is just ready to play again because we know what we can do," the senior says. "We just made a couple of mistakes out there that we didn't have any business making, but that just goes on in the course of a ball game. We'll just take our loss and we just go up from there."

Western Carolina is out of the Southern Conference, a strong Division I-AA league. The Catamounts were 7-4 last year and a veteran WCU team had no trouble defeating Liberty University 23-3 last Saturday. From watching the Catamounts on video, Robinson says WCU has a capable offense. "We have got a good Western Carolina team coming to play so we have got to go out there and stay focused."

Robinson says the pass coverage problems didn't have anything to do with the field at the coliseum. Several Tigers slipped while trying to make plays on Monday night. "I think the field was fine," Robinson says. "It was just some people who lost their footing at times. We don't have any excuses. We are a little disappointed, but we are over that now. We are trying to focus on Western Carolina. That is the only thing we are focused on now. The coaches put in the game plan and we are trying to execute it properly so we don't make the same mistakes."

As a senior, Robinson says he is trying to be a leader. This week, he says, there is no concern that the team will not be ready to play. "We have got to take this game and then we have got Vanderbilt to open the SEC season. We have got to go into the SEC the right way with a win so this is a very important game for us. It is a kind of a stepping stone for us so we have got to go out and take this game seriously and go out there and play these people the best we can."

Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik says he likes the effort his players have put into practice this week. Chizik, who coaches T-Rob and the other safeties, says it is essential that the Tigers eliminate the assignment mistakes that USC exploited in game one. Robinson agrees and adds, "We know we are going to see those plays again. Everybody watches film just like we do. We have broke down all of the plays that we messed up on. We have worked on all of the Western Carolina plays so we are getting everything down pat."


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