Goggans Getting It Done On Defense

Michael Goggans talks with Inside the Auburn Tigers about his spring improvements.

Ala.—Sen'Derrick Marks' move back to the interior left a vacancy at the start of the spring for a new strongside defensive end in the Auburn lineup. Michael Goggans emerged early as the front-runner for the starting spot and the upcoming sophomore did nothing but improve for the rest of the spring.

"I improved a lot as far as my run game and just coming off and being more physical at the line," Goggans states. "With my pass rush I still have some things to work on, but I became a better pass rusher as the spring went on. That's the thing I was lacking last year–my pass rush–but I became better at that. I'm using more of a power rush because I'm a power-type guy. I think I had a pretty productive spring though."

Goggans, a third-year sophomore out of Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City, came to Auburn as a tight end and redshirted at that position in 2006.

Prior to last spring he made the move to the defensive side of the ball and had nine tackles, a couple of tackles behind the line of scrimmage and a sack in a reserve role as a freshman.

If he would have stayed at tight end he'd probably be used mostly as a blocker, but as an end he's got all of the physical tools and the mentality needed to play the run in the physical SEC.

"Being on the defense, Coach (Terry) Price always stresses that we've got to be tough guys on the field," Goggans says of his position coach. "I came here as a tight end and coming out of high school that's all I wanted to do–tight end. I already knew it was an option for me to move to defensive end. But when I moved, I loved it and I wouldn't ever want to go back. I love playing defense under Coach (Paul) Rhoads and Coach Price. Coach Price has taught me a lot and I'm still just trying to make myself become a better player. Coming from tight end I still take some of the steps, short steps here and there, but I'm getting better at that and coming off and being physical."

Auburn held one practice, a scrimmage, after the annual A-Day spring game and Goggans had perhaps his best performance of the 15 practic days. He got in the backfield several times and also showed toughness in the run game. On one particular play he and pulling guard Tyronne Green had a violent collision that left both shaken up.

"He pulled across and after that play we both got a laugh out of it," Goggans jokes. "Both of our heads were spinning. He felt my contact and I felt his. I did my job on the play.

"First of all I just came off and played the run really well," he adds of his overall performance. "I'm very strong at the point of attack. I've still got some things to work on as far as my pass rush, but I think I played the run real well."

Finishing spring a couple of weeks earlier than most schools around the conference, the Tigers have been back to offseason workouts since their last practice on April 2nd. Marks played the strongside end position last year at a biscuit under 300 pounds, so Goggans says he's trying to put some more weight on his 255 pound frame.

"I want to be about 260, 265. Playing that strongside end you've got to have a little weight. Playing at 255 I think I have enough power to play it right now, but I just want to add a little more weight so I'll be consistent."

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