Auburn, Ala.--Perhaps no player has had a better preseason camp for the Auburn Tigers than redshirt sophomore cornerback Jerraud Powers.
A player who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, Powers is currently running with the first team at left cornerback along with Patrick Lee while senior Jonathan Wilhite is the right side corner and a returning starter.
Powers says that although it's not set in stone that he'll be on the field for the opening play on Sept. 1, the Decatur native notes that he's happy that he put himself in that position during two-a-days.
"It's pretty exciting," Powers says. "Right now we're still in camp though. There is still a lot of competition going on. Once we get to Kansas State is when I'll really start thinking about starting on opening night if I'm still with the one defense. Right now we're still in camp. Coach Muschamp still says nobody has a spot right now. That's how we're taking it each day is to keep battling for a spot."
Powers works on his technique during a preseason practice.
A vital member of Auburn's defense last season as the nickel defensive back, Powers has continued that role during preseason practice even though he's a starter. With five defensive backs in the game, Lee enters as the left corner and Powers moves inside. He says that's one of the main reasons he's been so good at finding turnovers so far this preseason.
"When you play the nickel position, most of the time that's where I come up with plays, you've just go so many opportunities to be around the ball," Powers says. "In certain coverages you're going to be doubling somebody and you might be a guy that's just out helping another guy.
"A lot of times I'm at the right place at the right time. Coach Muschamp's calls just put me in position to make the play and I've just got to do it. I think I'm just getting lucky and the ball is bouncing my way right now."
Powers and his defensive teammates got the best of the offense in Auburn's first scrimmage of the preseason, but weren't as dominating the second time around. Last Friday, while the defense did a good job according to coordinator Will Muschamp, Powers says they didn't play great but had plenty of things to build on.
"It was good that we saw some controversy early in the scrimmage just to see how we react," Powers says. "Brad Lester made a good run, but we came back and got a stop. Everybody just pulled together as a team. We tackled well in the open field. We had two big plays bust out on us, one was in the two-minute when me and Savage (Aairon Savage) were doubling a guy. The other one was when Brad scored the touchdown.
"Other than that, I thought we played strong. We tackled well. Everybody was communicating for the most part but we've still got a lot to prove. We've got to understand defenses more and understand down and distance and understand what the offense is going to do in certain situations."
A quiet player off the field, Powers doesn't look like the type to talk a lot on the football field and that's probably true. What he is though, he is excited about the game of football and particularly Auburn's defense this season. He says that excitement is something he wants to see out of the entire defense this year because it's one part of what he believes makes for a dominating unit that can take over football games.
"I think we need to show more excitement and enthusiasm when we're out there," Powers says. "A lot of times guys will make plays and there might be a couple of guys celebrating. As a unit everybody's not doing it. I think we need to come out with a swagger and play with some enthusiasm while we're out there.
"If somebody busts a big play so what, just play the next play. That's the main thing that is going to help us through this season. We need to try to have fun and play with some enthusiasm because we know Muschamp is going to coach with enthusiasm. I think we should play with enthusiasm."