Auburn, Ala.--There was little doubt going into Saturday's game against Tennessee Tech that the plan was to play as many young players as possible to give the starters a rest heading into the final two games of the season against Georgia and Alabama.
Playing subs early and often on both sides of the ball, Auburn was content to grind out a 35-3 win over the scrappy I-AA squad and one of the players that contributed to that was true freshman linebacker Josh Bynes.
Leading the team in tackles with six while adding two tackles for losses and a forced fumble, Bynes was the defensive standout for the Tigers. He says that he's been waiting for his chance to shine and Saturday was finally that time.
"It felt real good going against a team like this," Bynes says. "I got in the game a lot and got in the action and got going. I think I did pretty good today.
"It felt real good to get a couple of big hits," Bynes adds. "That's what I have been waiting for all week, going into the game and making a statement. That's exactly what I did."
Bynes' statement play came late in the game with Auburn holding a touchdown-less streak against Tennessee Tech. Up 35-3 and with Tech down to the Tiger 13-yard line, Bynes hit Henry Sailes and forced a fumble that was recovered by Aairon Savage. Bynes says it was big to keep them out of the end zone and he's glad to have been a part of that.
"It was real big," Bynes says. "I read it perfect. I had to run in there and make the play. I was excited to get in there and make it happen. That's what I have been doing since I started playing football and I was happy to do it again."
Coming back strong after a knee injury put an end to his senior year at Lauderdale Lakes High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla, the physical Bynes says he's feeling good and wearing a brace just for precautionary measures this season.
His presence could be one the Tigers count on in the coming weeks as they face a potent running game at Georgia this weekend before taking on rival Alabama in three weeks. Bynes says at the moment all he and the young guys on defense are concerned with is improving.
"It's a good experience so we can learn from our rights and wrongs and what we need to work on," Bynes says. "That will be good for us this next week going into the game at Georgia. Right now we'll just go over things and see where our mistakes were and not let it happen next week.
"We'll worry about Alabama later," Bynes says. "Right now we're focused on Georgia. We have to take care of business beginning tomorrow. We're just going to let things happen. We need to have a good week of practice going into the Georgia game and let it all out."