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Versatile Josh Holsey makes big move in Auburn secondary
Sept. 24, 2014

Josh Holsey readies for play at an Auburn practice

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala.  Auburn needed another safety, and in hurry, too, so the coaches turned to a cornerback who knew the way.
Enter Josh Holsey, a cornerback by trade, an emergency safety always on standby, and the player who made a game-high 11 tackles and was named the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the week while Auburn beat Kansas State 20-14 last Thursday.
Holsey got in one full practice, and worked another short one, at safety after being called in to replace Jermaine Whitehead, who was suspended. 
Holsey said he was happy the coaches trusted him to handle the move.
"They actually believed in me to do that with the little preparation that I had. It just shows that I'm versatile and I can play corner, free, boundary. It just shows that I'm prepared to play," Holsey said.
The safety position Holsey played comes with responsibility. He helps sets the defense every play. Holsey figures his time at safety in the spring game helped, when the coaches flipped him days before that game, too. He'll be there again when Auburn meets Louisiana Tech at 3 p.m. Saturday for homecoming in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"I was well prepared for the job being around Whitehead and everybody else in the secondary. I know the secondary pretty much like the back of my hand as well. I knew where to direct everybody to go to," he said.
Holsey said he didn't  know he was tackling most everybody in sight.
"I didn't even know I had that many tackles at the end of the game when they told me. As the game went on, I really was just focused on trying to do my job and make sure we came out with the W. I really wasn't even focusing on myself as an individual with how many tackles I had," he said.
Auburn coaches have praised the defense this week. Holsey said a meeting among the defensive players set the tone.
"The message from this past meeting was," said Holsey, "We've got to make a name for ourselves. This is going to be the game where it's not going to be just about the offense or just about the special teams. We're going to make sure people know that Auburn has a defense as well.' So we went into that game with a big chip on our shoulder making sure the defense showed up and played to the best of their ability the entire game.
"I feel like very game we go into is always what is Auburn's secondary or what is Auburn's defense going to do. And I feel like this past Thursday that we answered a lot of questions. You're not just going to come in and throw the ball on us, you're not just going to run the ball on us anymore. I feel like as a unit we showed everybody that Auburn has a defense as well as an offense."
The defensive backs have been talked up, especially since the Kansas State game, from Holsey winning SEC honors, to the players doing well as a group, to Rudy Ford continuing to make an impact in his second season, but really his first of full-time duty, on the job.
"Once we found out that I was going to safety, we stayed after a little bit to make sure we were on the same page," Holsey said. "I can tell by the way he's flowing in the game he's starting to pick up playing DB a lot better than what he was before. It's really clicking for him. He's going to be a really good player."
Of course, it helps that Ford has blazing speed.
"I don't think anybody can run away from Rudy. He's incredibly fast. He has a really good breaking speed and he's a good tackler, too. It's hard to get away from Rudy once he gets that acceleration and that burst and he has that mindset he's coming to get you. He's going to come get you," Holsey said.

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



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