Goggans Looking For Big Finish

Auburn senior defensive end Michael Goggans talks about preseason practice, the defense, and his development.

Auburn, Ala.--For senior Michael Goggans it seems like just yesterday when he moved to Auburn from Alexander City to begin his college career. Heading into his senior year as one of Auburn's most experienced players, the 6-3, 265 defensive end said it begins to hit home for him and the rest of a huge senior class now that preseason camp is over with.

"It's kind of exciting," Goggans said. "We're just taking things one day at a time but being a senior a lot of things become more important to you. You realize this is your last year. You just have to go hard every day. As a senior class we want to go out with a bang."

Although the team still have just over a week until the season opener against Arkansas State, they have already spent a couple of days on the gameplan and that means scout teams. Goggans said that is always a time for the players to switch from camp mode into game mode and it's the job of the seniors to keep everyone focused on the task at hand.

"The scout teams are trying their best right now to give us the best look possible going into the first game," Goggans said. "They are doing a good job. We're just working hard and focusing on some key things and fundamentals that will help make us a great team this year."

That's not easy when you have as many newcomers expected to play a big role as the Tigers do this season. On the defensive line alone names like Nosa Eguae in their second year as well as newcomers Craig Sanders, Corey Lemonier, Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter should all play a role for Auburn in 2010. That's helped in a number of ways Goggans noted.

"It has helped us out a lot," Goggans said. "We needed the depth because we were short in a lot of areas. We brought a great freshman class in. There are some guys that can help us and play this year. We're just looking forward to it. They've got a lot of talent. Now we'll see if they can use it on Saturday."

The added depth will be big for a defense that struggled mightily last season much of the time. Allowing over 27 points per game, the Tigers gave up points and yards in bunches especially when that lack of depth reared its ugly head. Goggans said this preseason the defense has put its mind to improving in a lot of areas but one stands out above the rest.

"We're focusing on some things especially third down percentage," Goggans said. "We couldn't really get off the field on third down last year. That was a big killer for us. Most of the time they converted it into scoring points. We're trying to shut that down and stop the run better."

One of the keys to stopping people on third down is getting pressure on the quarterback. Having to replace one of the best in Auburn history in Antonio Coleman, Auburn will need much more in that department from Goggans. Despite playing 37 career games with 18 starts, he has just two career sacks and only eight and a half tackles for losses. He said that has been a major focus for him since the spring and he's continuing to work on it every chance he gets.

"I feel like I've actually improved a lot on my run techniques and my pass rush moves," Goggans said. "Going into my last year I have worked on it constantly. I'm trying to make myself better everyday."

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