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Gabe Wright, Auburn's D-line settling in
Sept. 12, 2014

Auburn's Gabe Wright closes in on Arkansas' Brandon Allen in the opener

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala.  Gabe Wright stands ready to play defensive end, just in case. But the defensive tackle by trade has mostly caused havoc at his natural position through the first two games of Auburn's season, and that's OK, too.
Who knows? His work moonlighting at defensive end in the spring and in August still may come in handy.
"I definitely wouldn't say it hurt me any, starting out at the end at the spring and the fall. Even then, I played inside. I was just kind of getting the best of both worlds," Wright said.
Auburn has reason to feel reasonably comfortable with its line. The Tigers have 15 tackles for a loss through two games, including eight by defensive linemen. The D-linemen have nine of the 20 quarterback hurries, too.
Auburn worked on that, and more, during its bye week practice that concluded Thursday. The Tigers will return Sunday for its final push toward Thursday night's game at Kansas State.
Wright is a defensive tackle, but said he doesn't mind slippping over to efensive end, which he has on occasion. 
"People always say, 'more versatile' up and down the line. Being able to play multiple positions, and being able to play well, I don't see any weaknesses or any downfalls from that," Wright said. "You really don't know what can happen down the line, if a guy goes down, or if we do want to go to that Rhino package, then we can."
Wright said defensive line coach Rodney Garner first brought up playing both tackle and end in the middle of last season. But the Tigers waited until the spring. Then, a knee injury to Carl Lawson, Auburn's returning sack leader and defensive end starter, made the move a natural safety valve. Now the quick start by defensive end Montravius Adams, as in four tackles for a loss and two quarterback hurries, makes Wright even more comfortable at tackle.
Auburn will take all of that on the road for the first time.
"It’s Thursday night and the whole world is watching in a sense," Wright said. "It gives us a chance to have our first away game so you’ve got JUCO guys and freshmen guys who have yet to experience that. 
"Kansas State, being a Top 25 team, and playing in a hostile environment like Manhattan, the environment is of course going to be different. You go into an environment like that and it totally flips on you."
Like at LSU last year when Auburn fell behind in the first half in the rain before playing tough in the second half.
"Occasionally you go on the road and things just aren’t going your way. At LSU in the first half things weren’t going our way, but the second half we just really felt like that however many guys we brought, say 70 guys, it was 70 against 90,000 and we really wouldn’t want it any other way," Wright said. "As a defense we really try to embrace that role of shutting down an offense, especially in their own house."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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