Auburn Defenders Win Praise

A report on the Auburn football team's defense is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--The defense held the upper hand on the offense in Auburn's first scrimmage of the 2007 preseason and did enough good things in the process to win praise from Will Muschamp.

The Tigers scrimmaged on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. For most of the 21 offensive possessions, the defense outplayed the offense.

"I think the big thing we were looking for going into the scrimmage was great effort and execution of what we were trying to do," Muschamp says. "We got that and we got some turnovers, which was good. We didn't give up as many big plays as we normally do in an early scrimmage with many mental errors and that was a positive.

"I thought we really tackled well in space," the defensive coordinator says. "We didn't have a lot of balls come out on us in space. I think those were the most positive things from the scrimmage, and there were certainly a lot of positive things to build from, a lot of positive, and obviously some things we have to get corrected, but they are all correctable mistakes that were made.

"We had some young kids step up, which was exciting to have happen," Muschamp adds. "We had a lot of production at the scrimmage."

One of the young players who has caught Muschamp's eye is sophomore Jerraud Powers, who is running first team at cornerback. He also runs with the first group at nickel when the Tigers use five defensive backs.

On Sunday night, he picked off two out routes thrown by Brandon Cox. One was in a skelly drill, the other in 11 on 11 teamwork.

"Jerraud Powers had a great day today," Muschamp says. "He had two interceptions. He played the ball extremely well in both situations. He is a guy who comes out with his lunch pail every day to work. He is a hard worker. He is a guy you go bed at night feeling about because he is going to play hard for Auburn."

Jonathan Wilhite is shown in coverage at Sunday night's practice.

The defensive coordinator says the cornerbacks as a group are playing well. He notes that Jonathan Wilhite, who was running first team on Sunday night, is playing well as is Pat Lee, Zach Gilbert and Walter McFadden. "That position has come around for us," says Muschamp, who coaches the secondary.

Michael McNeil is shown at Sunday night's practice.

Other players Muschamp mentioned as showing up well in the scrimmage include true freshmen Antoine Carter and Michael McNeil plus redshirt freshman Mike Blanc and Craig Stevens. Blanc went 50-plus snaps on a sore ankle.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories