Blackmon Working To Get Back To Form

Auburn sophomore linebacker Tray Blackmon talks about his injury and responding to the loss at LSU.

Auburn, Ala.--The 2007 season has been a frustrating one for Auburn sophomore linebacker Tray Blackmon. Injuring an ankle on the last play of the season opener against Kansas State, Blackmon has worked hard to get back on the field and says he's finally getting closer to being his old self for the Tigers.

"Each week I'm getting closer and closer back to 100 percent," Blackmon says. "I just have to keep fighting and keep having faith and do the little things. The other things will take care of themselves. Just try to take care of the off the field things and make sure I'm staying focused. Just keep chopping wood and keep doing the things that I'm supposed to do to get back better."

After being named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Arkansas two games ago, Blackmon didn't have as much impact in Auburn's loss to LSU because of the Bengal Tigers' style of play. Choosing to play with four and five receivers much of the night, LSU kept Blackmon off the field by personnel.

That is something Blackmon says he's hoping to remedy in the future. Without him this season, Chris Evans has been the player that remained on the field no matter the situation for the Tigers because of his experience and work there to start the season. Firmly entrenched as Auburn's linebacker in the dime and with Craig Stevens in the nickel, Blackmon says he's happy with how Evans has played, but he's hoping to get back in that role as soon as possible.

"It's tough," Blackmon says. "Coming out, the first couple of plays I was in there all hyped up and then had to sit on the sideline a little bit. But I'm for the team. I don't try to think about it as an individual thing worrying about my playing time or me getting this.

"I'm for what is going to benefit the team, and if that's what the coaches think will benefit the team then I'm all for it. But no doubt, I would like to be in there. I always think that I could get in or there's something I could do to change the game and make a play. Chris is a good player and he gets the job done so I can't complain with that."

Tray Blackmon plays middle linebacker for the Tigers.

Blackmon was on the field for one of the key plays in Saturday night's game, a play that saw LSU's Jacob Hester catch a pass out of the backfield and just get into the end zone ahead of a Blackmon hit at the goal line. On the play there was a preliminary infraction for having just six men on the line of scrimmage, a call that was later overturned in error. Blackmon says he didn't notice the flag on the field, but says he should have gotten the job done.

"Not until after the play," Blackmon says of when he saw the flag. "It's a tough one there to swallow, too, but you can't sit there and argue with the referees about a play. You've got to get back in the huddle and get ready for the next play. I had seen it and it just seemed like I couldn't get there fast enough to get him out. Once again they made a good play."

Against LSU Auburn had a season high 12 missed tackles, according to defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. That is something that Blackmon says the team will work on this week to get ready for Ole Miss because it's all about technique and improving as a player.

"The guys are excited and want to make big plays and get a little too anxious sometimes and miss tackles," Blackmon says. "Once again you've got to go back to the little things like technique and I try to focus more in times like that. It's real critical. I think it's just guys excited and wanting to make a play real bad--probably over-pursued or got over-anxious on a play. We correct that and it's always something we can work at and get better."

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