Aug. 14, 2014
Auburn defensive backs are lining up for action
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Jonathon Mincy and Jonathan Jones have had the best preseason camp among Auburn cornerbacks, but there are still some up-in-the-air position battles on the depth chart.
Joshua Holsey is slowed by a hurt knee, former receiver Trovon Reed is flipping from one side of the field to the other, junior college Derrick Moncrief missed practices with a virus. Freshmen Markell Boston and Stephen Roberts have been hurt. Robenson Therezie isn't practicing too much, either.
Even Mincy has a hurt shoulder.
Did somebody says defensive lineman LaDarius Owens isn't practicing, either, because of an infection from off-season surgery? Well, he's not. New defensive lineman DeVonte Lambert and Devaroe Lawrence lost time with injuries. Auburn had already lost defensive end Carl Lawson to knee surgery.
"I think our two-deep is still a little bit murky now," said defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson after Thursday's practice. "Hopefully, we'll have some more contact stuff here in the next couple three days, and those will clear up. Some of it is good problems. We've got some guys fighting and competing for the same jobs, and it is good competitiveness. But you'd like for it to clear up so you can get a good two-deep."
Justin Garrett could be in line to take more snaps while Therezie is limited. Rudy Ford's move to defensive back last year may really take off this season. He and Jermaine Whitehead are leading at safety, Johnson said. Moncrief is next in line for either safety spot.
Holsey and Jones missed a lot of time last season with injuries, and Johnson said even now that Holsey has been limited in practice "as he comes back full-speed on his knee."
"It sort of makes you start thinking, we don't need 11, we're going to need 22," Johnson said.
The injuries have taken a toll on the depth chart.
"That's probably been my biggest frustration," Johnson said. "You always come into camp and have some pleasant surprises and some disappointments. You kind of in your mind project which ones you think are going to come in and make a hit.
"But the nagging injuries kind of have us two steps forward, one step back. There are some guys who've got the chance and the skill set to get right into the middle of things, but the limitations in practice have just been holding them back in fundamentals and understanding what we're doing in the scheme."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine