Auburn, Ala.--With the losses of senior Josh Thompson and junior Pat Sims in the middle of Auburn's front four on defense, the job for Coach Don Dunn was expected to be a tough one this spring. Even with the move of Sen'Derrick Marks inside to tackle, the play of his guys hasn't been a bright spot through seven practices says Dunn.
"We've got a long way to go," the coach tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "A long, long way to go. We're not anywhere near where we need to be. I've got to do better job of coaching them. We made a lot of mistakes, which I expected because a lot of the guys haven't had that many reps.
"We are not where we need to be by any means though," he adds. "We've got a long, long way to go. That's my responsibility. I've got to get them ready to go. I've got to find four of them that can get the job done."
Sen'Derrick Marks will be a big key for Auburn's defense in 2008.
Right now it appears that junior Jermarcus Ricks is the favorite to win one of the starting jobs along with Marks after his play late in the season and in the bowl game against Clemson, but that is far from a sure thing as Zach Clayton and Mike Blanc both have the ability to make plays as well. Dunn says right now Marks is struggling to get used to playing inside, but it‘s something that will come with time.
"He's looked okay, but nothing spectacular," Dunn says of Marks. "He has the ability, but he's got to get used to being back inside. It's a whole different world in there as far as blocking schemes. There are a lot more double teams and fold blocks and down blocks and things like that. It's going to take him a little time to get used to it."
With six practices to go before the A-Day game on March 29, Auburn's defense has time to round into shape up front. For that to happen, Dunn says his guys have to become more consistent from play to play and also execute what they've learned on the field.
"We've got to take from the meeting room and the film room and the individual drills to the team part of things," the coach says. "We kind of got out there and did some things that weren't very characteristic. We lined up sometimes not in the right spot. We didn't give great effort all the time. That's my fault. That's my responsibility. As we go on we'll get that corrected."'