Making A Move

A redshirt freshman on the Auburn football team discusses his position move from offense to defense.

Auburn, Ala.--Jake Slaughter says he likes the chance to return to his favorite position, but says the timing of the move is tough as he works to learn the details of the middle linebacker position in Auburn's 4-3 alignment.

For the redshirt freshman from Brentwood, Tenn., the move is the third of his short college career. He worked last fall on the scout team as a middle linebacker, the position he played at the start of spring. Then, he was moved to defensive end to fill a void at that position, however, that was considered a temporary move because a shortage of bodies at that position for spring drills.

Jake Slaughter watches the action as a linebacker at Wednesday's pratice.

Over the summer, he was moved to offense to bolster the depth at fullback. As a reserve this year, he has not carried the ball, but caught one pass for a 15-yard gain.

"I have been playing linebacker since I was in about second grade," Slaughter says. "I am pretty happy about that and I like the position a lot. The only problem is that it is kind of late in the year so I am going to have to learn everything over again so there are mixed emotions."

Tuberville says that Slaughter could still see some action at fullback this year if he is needed there, but the long-term plan for the redshirt freshman looks to be on defense where he played very well in the spring at both middle linebacker and end.

With Brandon Johnson recovered from a shoulder sprain and Michael Owens ready again now that he has recovered from an ankle problem plus Ronnie Brown seeing some double duty at fullback along with his tailback role, Slaughter was not scheduled to see a lot of action at fullback the rest of the 2002 season.

For Saturday night's game against Syracuse, Slaughter will likely be limited to action on special teams. Unless there are injuries to starter Mark Brown and backup Lemarcus Rowell or there is a lopsided score, Slaughter is not likely to play any linebacker vs. the Orangemen.

"I would like to stay there (at linebacker) in the long run," Slaughter says. "It is the position I love and the position I think I am best at."

Jake Slaughter

The redshirt freshman says he enjoyed his time at fullback, but says, "They are running a lot of one-back and they don't need me as much and B.J. (Brandon Johnson) is doing a little better with his shoulder so they decided to move me to linebacker to see what I can do."

Tiger Ticket: Brandon Johnson left practice early on Wednesday, but it wasn't due to an injury. "My shoulder is doing great," notes the junior, who had to get to class to take an exam...Another middle linebacker, true freshman Tyrone Martin, watched the action from the sidelines at Wednesday's practice. He is being held out of action while he rehabs from a stinger injury and is taking a medical hardship scholarship. His next football action will not be until spring training. Martin was a key player on Benjamin Russell's Class 5A state championship team last year and Martin says he thinks his old teammates have a shot to repeat...Another linebacker, redshirt freshman Antarrious Williams, won't be able to play this week as he recovers from a knee problem. Jake Slaughter was a two-time All-State performer in high school at Brentwood Academy. He rushed for 810 yards and 10 touchdowns at fullback his senior season with 145 tackles and six sacks at middle linebacker. He forced seven fumbles, had six QB sacks, recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass as he was named the Division II Defensive Player of the Year in Tennessee. His teammate at Brentwood, offensive tackle Taylor Bourgeois, is battling for a starting position at tight tackle. The two have been good friends for many years.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories