Veteran Cornerback Carlos Rogers Still Pushing

Mr. Rogers' football neighborhood will have a new look this fall with two new starters in the Auburn secondary. A fixture in the lineup the past two seasons, Carlos Rogers is expected to be one of the key parts of the 2003 Tiger defense.

Auburn, Ala.--Just because he has spent two seasons as a starter doesn't mean Carlos Rogers isn't still pushing himself as he prepares for his junior season as an Auburn football player.

In fact, just the opposite is the case. The six-foot-one, 188-pounder from Augusta, Ga., says he plans to stay busy looking to find ways to improve throughout spring football practice.

Rogers just finished a winter workout program that he calls a good one, although it was not without some personal disappointment. "I have been weighing in at around 188," Rogers explains. "I can't get over the 188 hump for anything, but from talking to Coach Yox (strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall) he said that I am in my little pause area. I am thinking, ‘What can I do?' I eat three times a day, I take a few supplements and try to work hard in a weight room. I am going to try to get to 195. Hopefully, by this summer I will come around and add the weight and be up there where I want to be."

Carlos Rogers

Rogers is where he wants to be on the depth chart, which is first string. That is the same place he has been most of his first two Auburn seasons despite playing through some injury problems. He is currently fit and ready to prepare what he expects will be his best collegiate season on a personal level and team level. He comes into his junior year with 106 career tackles and four interceptions. The interceptions all came last year during Auburn's 9-4 season.

"I have got some goals set for myself this spring," Rogers tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "The coaches have been talking to me about the little things I messed up my freshman year and last year. I came in starting my freshman year. Last year, I still had things I had to work on. You know, you have always got to work on the little things if you want to improve as a player.

"This spring, I am working on getting better in my technique and trying to be a better leader for myself and for the team. I want to step myself up to another level because this is the time right now."

Rogers, an SEC All-Freshman pick two seasons ago, says that he is looking forward to getting back in the pads. "I am really excited, especially about the spring," he says. "It is time a lot of us have got to step up. We have got a lot of leaders coming back and in the spring we have got to work out right, as tough as we can, to get ready for this season. Then we we will have another group of freshmen coming in this summer to play, including some guys in the secondary."

Carlos Rogers spent a year in prep school prior to playing for the Tigers and earned Freshman All-America honors two seasons ago.

The offseason has not been just about trying to add some weight, Rogers notes. "We are doing a lot of training. We have been getting our speed work in and getting our strength up with Coach Yox in the weight room." Rogers says that the Tigers finished their pre-breakfast "county fair" drills last week, something the junior says builds toughness and team unity. "It is just a test the coaches put us through seeing how we go through pressure and bad times," Rogers notes. "They were getting in our face, getting us ready for next season. We go through ten stations, constantly running and doing the drills, going through hurdles, hitting the ground, going back, coaches in your face seeing how you respond to them, sending you back, starting your group over. Then after that, after you are tired, you have got to keep going so we run a set of sprints. If one person messes up and doesn't reach the line fast enough, or doesn't run all the way through, we start over so you have to do it perfectly. The coaches are trying to be hard on us."

Rogers says the players are talking about being a championship team in 2003, but before the Tigers can challenge for anytime of championship they will have to fill two vacancies in the secondary--the cornerback spot opposite Rogers and the free safety position.

"We have got a lot of guys to step up," Rogers says. "It is just a matter of if they want to work hard and do it. Me and Rose (strong safety Junior Rosegreen) are coming back from the starting secondary. We have got Donnay (free safety Donnay Young) who has played some along with Gilyard (safety Roshard Gilyard). We have Lamel (Lamel Ages) and Dee (Dee Durham) at corner and they are real good. It is just a matter of wanting it and doing it. The coaches are going to be watching, watching very closely. Plus, me and Rose being leaders, we are going to have to teach them. We are going to have to step up our game and get them to come along and get with us."

Rogers was a two-way standout at Butler High School in Augusta, Ga., before coming to Auburn. As a sophomore he tied for the team lead with four interceptions.

Rogers says going into the season with higher expectations makes his team more of a target in 2003, but that is all right with him. "It is more challenging because so many people will be looking to knock us out," he notes. "It will be different from when we were picked down, but this is where we always have wanted to get and where we are now. To stay up we have to stay on top of our game. One slip might cost us a championship so we have got to come out ready to play every game this season."

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