Veteran McFadden Hopes to See Improvement

Cornerback Walt McFadden talks about the Auburn football team's defense.

Auburn, Ala.--As the Tigers return to football practice this week, senior cornerback Walter McFadden says it is time for the defense to step up.

The team has had two days off since going through its second major preseason scrimmage on Saturday evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Often there can be debate among the offensive and defensive players about which side won the encounter, but McFadden says it was evident who played best in scrimmage two.

"The offense won," McFadden tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "They did their job. The defense came to play, but it just wasn't good enough."

One of the bright spots for the defense was the play of true freshman safety Daren Bates, who looks like he will provide help in the secondary where starters Mike McNeil and Aairon Savage are out with injuries. Bates, who plays both safety spots, is developing a reputation as an aggressive and physical defender.

"Our secondary is improving every day," says McFadden, who adds, "We have a young guy stepping up named Bates. He is becoming a big player for us. He is getting noticed and all eyes are starting to look at him. He is a guy I am looking forward to seeing help us this year."

"Zac Etheridge and Coach Thig (Tommy Thigpen) are doing a great job of helping him learn the plays," McFadden says of Bates, who has won praise from Thigpen as well as defensive coordinator Ted Roof and head coach Gene Chizik. "He is getting into rhythm and he is overcoming the normal freshman mistakes," McFadden points out. "He is moving pretty fast."

McFadden says the keys to having a strong defensive unit this season are communication and playing as "one."

"I know we have it, I know it is there," the senior cornerback says. "We just have to be more consistent and get the job done every time. At times in the scrimmage we played okay as a defense, but at other times we let ourselves down."

McFadden and the Tigers will open the season on Saturday, Sept. 5th with a home game vs. Louisiana Tech.

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