Marks Excited About Upcoming Season

Auburn junior Sen'Derrick Marks talks about new coordinator Paul Rhoads as well as comments on several teammates.

Hoover, Ala.--It was Auburn's turn on Friday at SEC Media Days and the representative on the defensive side of the ball, junior Sen'Derrick Marks, was all smiles as he went from room to room talking football with writers from all over the country. A first-team All-SEC selection as voted by the media, Marks is a name that is becoming a household one in the football world.

As a freshman Marks played inside at defensive tackle despite being a little undersized coming out of Mobile. Last season Auburn needed help on the outside and Marks did a more than admirable job on the strong side. Now he's moved back inside to tackle, something he said should help him as a player in 2008.

"It's helped me a lot," Marks said. "I learned a lot of different techniques on the outside that we didn't learn on the inside because we don't have to use them too much. A lot of it I feel like I can use on the inside. It should help my game a lot."

While much of the talk on Friday centered around the changes on offense for the Tigers, there is also a new sheriff in town on defense with Paul Rhoads taking over for Will Muschamp. Having a chance to work with Rhoads in the spring and knowing his history of performing well, Marks said he's ready to see how Auburn's defense will look this season.

"We won't be too different," Marks said. "It's not like we're changing formations. We're still running the 4-3. Last year we were fifth-ranked in the nation and coach Paul Rhoads at Pittsburgh was fifth. Evidently his system has to work. We should be pretty good. A lot of the guys played last year as sophomores and redshirt freshmen. A lot of guys are still young and fresh. We should be all right. We should be pretty good."

Coach Tommy Tuberville wasn't the only Auburn representative to have high praise for sophomore offensive tackle Lee Ziemba on Friday. Marks also talked about Ziemba, a player he said is a teddy bear off the field, but a much different guy between the lines.

"On the field Ziemba is a guy you want on your offensive line," Marks said. "On the field he's just a monster. He don't have any friends. Nobody is his buddy. You're not his pal. You're not his teammate. You're nothing. I don't know why he's like that, but that's just the way he is. That's the way he plays the game."

Getting back on the defensive side of the ball, Marks said that he's been impressed by several of the young guys that came in over the summer to get acclimated with being part of the Auburn program. One player in particular has made an impression on the big tackle and he said he wouldn't be surprised if he helped the defense early.

"It has probably been Hood," Marks said of freshman defensive back D'Antoine Hood from Phenix City. "He plays real good. In 7-on-7 he gets coverages on receivers that have been doing this for a while. His body frame is filled out. He's not just a little skinny guy. He's worked out hard. He's got all the tools that most young guys don't have."

Auburn will need guys like Hood to step up if the Tigers want to reach their goals this season. Picked to win the Western Division, Marks said anything less than that will be a disappointment this year.

"We want to get to Atlanta," Marks said. "We want to get to Atlanta and go far. Right now Georgia is ranked number one in the nation. They are on our schedule and we get to play them. If you want to be the best you've got to beat the best."

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