Wilhite And Defense Looking For Consistency

Senior cornerback Jonathan Wilhite talks about his preseason and the battle at his position.

Auburn, Ala.--Consistency is something that Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is constantly pounding into the heads of his defensive backs in practice as the Tigers get ready to open the season on Sept. 1 against Kansas State. After playing well last season the secondary had a tendency to give up the big play, something Jonathan Wilhite said that is directly opposite of the definition of the word consistency..

"Basically it means going out every day and making plays you've made before," Wilhite said. "Don't come out one day and make break ups and the next day give up four or five fades, just be consistent. He stresses all the time that good players are consistent all the time and come out every day with the attitude of practicing hard."

Although he was one of the veterans in the defensive secondary last year with a year of experience under his belt, Wilhite was a victim several times for big plays in 2006 with a catch by Marcus Monk one of the signature plays in a loss to Arkansas at home. Wilhite said for him it's all about paying attention to the little things and getting the job done.

"I just think it was focus," Wilhite said. "I feel like in the past I just had a lack of focus. In my senior year I know he stresses that and I'm trying to pursue it. So far I think I am (accomplishing his goal)."

Wilhite works on his pass defense in a recent practice.

Although he earned his starting spot opposite David Irons last year, Wilhite wasn't challenged in camp for the most part because of an injury to Jerraud Powers that limited his effectiveness. This time around there has been plenty of battles for the starting jobs on both sides of the defense, something Wilhite said is healthy for the defense.

"It has been tough," Wilhite said. "I feel like either way it goes we've got four guys that can play. I wouldn't say anyone is better than anyone. I just feel like all four of us are hungry and are behind each other 100 percent. That's what I like.

"We've got talented corners like Jerraud Powers and Pat Lee and Zach Gilbert," he added. "They are competition. That's the main reason why you've got to be consistent because those guys are going out every day and making plays. You've just got to be on you're A game too."

One of just five seniors out of 26 players listed on the Inside The Auburn Tigers projected depth chart for the season opener, Wilhite has taken on the role of a leader this preseason for the Tigers. He said that while the defense isn't clicking on all cylinders just yet, he feels like things are getting closer by the day.

"If we aren't we're getting there," Wilhite said. "I feel like every day we've taken a step forward. As long as you're going forward I feel like that's a good thing. From the D-Line all the way to the secondary we've got playmakers and guys that are hungry. We've got a lot of young guys and it feels like we're good but we've got a while to go before we can be great."

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