Bynes Ready for Razorbacks

Josh Bynes talks to Inside the Auburn Tigers about the decision to take off the redshirt.

Auburn, Ala.--Suffering through a plethora of injuries on the defensive side of the ball this year, linebacker Josh Bynes and cornerback Ryan Williams were forced into action against Vanderbilt and are expected to contribute through the rest of their freshmen seasons.

For Bynes, the move into the lineup after not playing in the first five games didn't come as much of a surprise. The Tigers lost three key senior linebackers from the 2006 team--Karibi Dede, Will Herring and Kevin Sears--then lost expected starter Patrick Trahan due to grades following the spring. Steve Gandy was lost during two-a-days because of medical issues, and two other expected starters--Tray Blackmon and Merrill Johnson--have hardly played in 2007.

Undersized Chris Evans, who had an outstanding spring in Blackmon's absence, has again filled the void in the fall for James Willis' corps at middle linebacker. However, Evans has also been playing through nagging injuries which prompted the redshirt to come off Bynes.

"I had been expecting to play for the longest," Bynes explains. "I was practicing with the varsity a little bit from the beginning. I had to go with scout, but I had stayed with the team.

"I was going through redshirt workouts early Friday morning and Saturday mornings, too," he adds. "It was straight. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and it was going to get me better, so I wasn't even paying attention to it. It was just doing extra work."

Bynes learned of the decision the Sunday between the Florida and Vanderbilt games from Willis.

"He talked to me out on the field after practice," Bynes explains. "I was excited and waiting for the weekend to come so I could show what I've got and get on the field.

"I think I did pretty good," he says of the win over Vanderbilt. "I was expecting to be kind of nervous but I wasn't. It felt like a Tuesday practice, just with the real team. (Coach Willis) was just saying good job coming in and setting the fronts, getting things in order and keeping everything like it was."

Up to 6-3, 231 pounds, Bynes saw extensive playing time in the second half against the Commodores and is hoping to get to play against Darren McFadden and Felix Jones of Arkansas on Saturday. For the long term, Bynes just hopes to be a part of the lineup.

"I just hope to come in contribute for right now and play as much as I can, keep on going and do the things I'm doing. Going into the spring I'm going to try to get the mindset of being in the whole rotation for a good period of time."


Bynes and the Auburn defense are hoping to slow down Arkansas' talented running back duo.

Bynes, a freshman from Boyd Anderson High in Fort Lauderdale, is behind Evans at middle linebacker, but if Blackmon is healthy enough to play against the Razorbacks then he'll be third-string.

"All of us are learning each position. I can learn mike, I can learn will and sam, so it doesn't matter. It's just mike though for right now. I feel more comfortable at mike because I've been playing it for two years now. And I do mike on nickel and dime. In the game we're in nickel and dime most of the time."

The Tigers versus the Razorbacks will be televised on ESPN at 6:45 p.m. CDT from Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Arkansas enters the contest at 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. Auburn is 4-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play.


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