Tiger Defender Respects Penn State's Offense

A starting member of the Auburn football team's secondary gives his scouting report on the bowl opponent.

Auburn, Ala.--Strong safety Junior Rosegreen says it will take a strong performance from the Auburn defense to come home a winner from Florida.

Rosegreen and his teammates will take on 10th-ranked Penn State on New Year's Day at the Capital One Bowl at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando.

Junior Rosegreen has 61 tackles this season and has intercepted two passes.

"The team is very excited about playing against a team with a Heisman candidate (tailback Larry Johnson)," Rosegreen says. "Being that he won three awards at the (ESPN awards show)--the Maxwell, the Doak Walker and the player of the year--we are very excited. Coach Tubs is excited, too, about playing against a Hall of Famer coach (Joe Paterno). The team is excited and the staff is excited. I don't think Penn State is going to back down so I think it is going to be a real good game."

Rosegreen says the Auburn defense is going to "try to step up to the plate" and make big-time plays against the Nittany Lions. "We feel if we can get some turnovers and contain Larry Johnson, we will be OK," he says.

The sophomore has won praise from defensive coordinator Gene Chizik for how well he has handled the strong safety spot after being moved there in spring training from cornerback. "I feel like I am just going to get better and better," says Rosegreen, who adds that the other starting safety, senior Travaris Robinson, really improved after making the move from cornerback to free safety. "We would like to finish off his career on a good note," Rosegreen says. "I am proud of him and I wish the best for him." Robinson is a first team All-SEC pick.

Larry Johnson is the senior star of the Penn State offense.

Scouting the Penn State offense, Rosegreen says, "They have got a pretty good quarterback (Zack Mills). He is left-handed and reminds me of (Georgia's) David Greene. He can throw the ball pretty good in the creases." Mills has competed 180-309 passes for 2,350 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season.

"They have one of the best running backs in the country and have some good receivers--24 (Bryant Johnson, 48 catches for 917 yards, four TDs) and 11 (Tony Johnson 32 catches for 495 yards, three TDs)." Tailback Larry Johnson is a good receiver, too, with 39 receptions for 341 yards and three TDs to go with the senior's 2,015 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns.

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