Sept. 11, 2013
Jonathon Mincy likes the feel of Auburn's defense (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn defensive backs had three interceptions in the first game, made 31 tackles in the second game.
That's good, but the competition will take a different turn when Auburn opens SEC play against Mississippi State at 6 p.m. Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium, and that's OK with cornerback Jonathon Mincy.
"It’s just exciting being out there with those boys. We’re making plays, and every week is just fun being out there with them," Mincy said.
Auburn hasn't allowed a touchdown in six-plus quarters and is looking for a turnaround after failing to win an SEC game last season. The Tigers already have more interceptions than they did in 2012, and have withstood 106 pass attempts, but allowed just one passing touchdown, in the first two games.
Will Auburn try to have an even bigger mental edge for the SEC opener?
"We should be on edge every week and that’s something that we want to change about this Auburn defense," Mincy said.
The secondary has played better against the pass, but so has the defensive line by forcing hurried throws, says Mincy. Mincy says that "makes our assignment easier" in man-to-man coverage knowing the defensive backs "won’t be out there that long."
"It’s just made this defense click a lot better when you have pressure," he said. "You have some outstanding people on the line that’s going to rattle up a quarterback or make any kind of interruptions and that will help us in coverages and make us be better in turnovers."
Six of Auburn's top nine tacklers are defensive backs, including the top two, Chris Davis and Robenson Therezie with 10 each. Mincy, Josh Holsey and Jermaine Whitehead have nine each.
"It makes us feel good," Mincy said. "And that’s something that we just don’t want to base ourselves on just being coverage corners. We want to be up there with the tackles as well.
"We should have another big week of corners coming up and making big plays this game."
Auburn hasn't allowed a touchdown since the middle of the second quarter of the opener against Washington State. Arkansas State posted plenty of yards, got to the Auburn 25 or closer six times, had the ball in Auburn territory on 10 of 12 drives, but settled for field goals or lost the ball on downs, fumbled or punted.
Dicey, perhaps, but still no touchdowns against Ellis Johnson's defense.
"It was something that Coach Johnson made sure he stressed to us going into the game and we got the job done," Mincy said. "That’s something that we’re going to continue to pride ourselves on.
"It was a great game and we’re excited for the next one."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine