Lee, DBs On the Firing Line Saturday Night

Having lost the last two games, it'll be the Auburn defensive backs who will be counted on to get things going in the right direction on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--"This is a DB game right here," says Auburn cornerback Patrick Lee in anticipation for New Mexico State's spread attack. "This is where it's at. This is where everything holds down, how we play in the secondary."

The Aggies (2-1), coached by former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme, are averaging 398.7 passing yards through three games this season. They're led by quarterback Chase Holbrook, who has already thrown for 1,187 yards and 11 touchdowns.

"He's got a good arm," Lee says of the 6-5 junior QB. "He's real accurate and we're preparing for that. We've just got to play ball, stay focused and know what they're doing out there. We've got to watch film and see which plays they run the most."

Holbrook's favorite target is Chris Williams, who had eight catches for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the second half alone in the Aggies' 29-24 victory over UTEP last Saturday. Williams is one of four five-foot-eight offensive skill position players to start their last game.

"They've got a lot of little people who are good," Lee says when asked about facing Williams. "They're real fast out there. We've got to put our hands on them. They throw the ball a whole bunch and I don't know if I've ever been against a team like that. It's going to be a challenge because we've never played against them and we've never seen them."

With 23 catches for 388 yards and seven scores, Williams is tops on the team with those numbers and near the top of the NCAA in almost every category. He is one of four wideouts with 10 or more catches joining A.J. Harris (22-156-0), Derek Dubois (21-237-2) and Brandon Allen (10-103-1). Tight end Nick Cleaver (11-158-0) and tailback Tonny Glynn (9-50-0) are also part of the passing attack.

In comparison, Prechae Rodriguez and Gabe McKenzie are tied for the Auburn lead with nine receptions apiece.

With mostly three, four and five receiver sets, that means that Auburn will have to use all of its secondary depth to slow down the opposing offense. Safety Aairon Savage has been slowed by an injured ankle, but played some against Mississippi State. Cornerback Jonathan Wilhite was slowed in the first two games with a hamstring and missed the entire game against the Bulldogs. He is expected to be available on Saturday, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville says.

Holbrook is an NFL prospect, but he has thrown six picks already this season. Lee could have several interceptions this year, but hasn't been able to make the play. He dropped what would have been an easy pick-six against Mississippi State.

"(My teammates) have been killing me about it," he says. "It's been three weeks in a row that I've dropped picks so they've been on me. We need to start doing pushups or something, at least 20, because I'm having trouble with my hands right now.

"I've got to get used to catching the ball more. I'm a DB so I'm used to batting the ball down. On Sunday I went over with the quarterbacks and they were throwing and I was catching the ball."

Kickoff for New Mexico State is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.


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