"It's here," freshman linebacker LaDarius Owens said. "When I first got here the little board said over 100 days and now it's down to about 30. I'm real excited about it. I'm ready to see where I fit in and see where I'll be able to help the team."
While much of the talk on the incoming class centers around running back Michael Dyer and wide receiver Trovon Reed, perhaps the most important pieces of the class this year will be on the defensive side of the ball. With help needed all along the front seven Owens said it makes the early part of practice even more important than it already was.
"It's what I consider good pressure," Owens said. "It will help me to grow up quick and step up my game. It will put me in a situation where I know it's up to me to help the team out. I want to contribute as much as I can. It's mostly a mental thing to be ready for college football. You just have to learn as much as you can and take everything seriously.
"It makes the competition even higher," he added. "I'm going to go out there and give my all to see where I fit in and just see how good I am. I don't know. This is college football so there's going to be a big difference. I'm going to contribute as much as I can."
A physical player in high school that played mostly defensive end, Owens will start his Auburn career at one of the outside linebacker spots working under coach Ted Roof. He said while he feels comfortable as a linebacker, he knows it's going to be a tough transition to life in the SEC.
"Mentally I think I'm a different football player and I haven't even been back in pads yet," Owens said. "Everything is changing. I'm growing up and learning more. In high school you're just going off talent. Now I'm learning more about defenses and offenses. I'm taking it in and trying to learn as much as I can."
With spots available on the defense and in several different areas of the kicking game, Owens said he's anxious to show the coaches what he can do on the field. While he obviously would love to get significant playing time and play a big role in the defense, he said for him it's just a matter of doing his job and fitting in wherever he's asked to do so.
"I just want to contribute as much as I can," Owens said. "I want to be able to get out there wherever the coaches need me to be. I'm going to do my best whether it's on special teams or on defense. I'm going to give it my all and help the team win."