Happy-to-be-in-Auburn Blake Countess wraps up Melvin Ray in practice
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Josh Holsey brought this on himself, inviting yet more competition in the secondary, convincing a player who started 30 games at Michigan to come to Auburn for the good of the team.
Holsey, who has played cornerback and safety, played in the nickel and dime defenses, helped convince Blake Countess to transfer to Auburn to help a secondary thin in depth.
"I pretty much told him he needs to come to Auburn," Holsey said.
Oh, Holsey will have a spot in Auburn's secondary. And Countess and all his experience can win a starting spot, too.
"It just seemed like the perfect fit," Countess said Wednesday after Auburn's second practice of the preseason. "They had a big need at the position and I felt like I could come in. When I came on my visit I really bonded with the guys here and felt like we could do something special. That's what I wanted to be a part of, was something special."
Holsey said he told Countess that "`If you come down here, you'll have a chance to come in and help us, and have an opportunity to win a national championship,' compared to where he was thinking of going.
"He ran the exact same thing we ran for the entire spring, so I was like, `If you come here, there's not really a drop off at all.' I'm really glad he came here for real."
Countess, a senior, listened.
"It kind of puts it in perspective when you hear it from a player. He said: 'We have a chance to be really good in the secondary, but we have no depth right now. You coming in is going to allow us to do some different things on defense that we really can't do right now.'"
Countess was an All-Big Ten cornerback in 2013. He said he'll play wherever he's asked.
"I like to think of myself as pretty versatile. We'll see where it goes. I'm moving around a little bit right now and that's all I can say."
Holsey said he welcomes another experienced defensive back.
"It's just competition. That's all it is, that's all this game is -- competition. The best man gets the spot. But we're really out here for the same common goal, and that's to win a national championship. That's if I'm starting, if he's starting, if I'm at nickel, if he's at nickel--it just really makes our secondary that much better having somebody with his caliber because he's already a fifth-year senior going in.
"He's been in those big situations, big moments and I know if we get into a game and it's crunch time, he won't fold or he won't be nervous or anything like that."
Countess said Auburn coaches were "straightforward on my visit."
"They're a new staff here on defense so coming in and going through the spring they said there wasn't a guy that really stood out," Countess said. "Jon Jones had a good year last year, but he didn't go through spring practice. Then they had the injury with T.J. Davis. It kind of shook them up a little bit. They were still looking and then they had a few guys that decided to go somewhere else.
"They were real upfront and honest with me that the opportunity is there to come in and contribute, but you're going to have to work for it. Once I got here I really saw that and I'm here to work."
Countess said he's picked up Will Muschamp's schemes because "the defense that I ran this spring at Michigan is the same defense that we're running here. The terminology is a lot of the same stuff. The learning curve is very small for me because I've really had the same amount of practices in this defense than the guys that were here have."
Countess said Muschamp and defensive back coach Travaris Robinson were two of the reasons he chose Auburn.
"Absolutely. Coach Muschamp and Coach T-Rob had a very big impact on my decision," Countess said. "I would kind of say that's where Auburn had the advantage over other schools."
Now, "Everybody's been really accepting and that's a big thing when you transfer. I've only gone through this process once, but if you go somewhere and you're not really getting along with the guys, that can affect you a lot."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine