Oct. 13, 2013
Chris Davis is back in Auburn's defense (Todd Van Emst photo)
AUBURN, Ala. - Senior Auburn cornerback Chris Davis has watched 6-foot-5 Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans on television and on video. He knows he's a load to cover, but he hopes to get the opportunity when the No. 24 Tigers and No. 7 Aggies meet Saturday at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.
"I'd love to be matched up with him," Davis said. "He's one of the top receivers in the SEC, and I think I'm one of the best defensive backs in the SEC. I think it'll be a good matchup."
How would he deal with Evans, who leads the Southeastern Conference in receiving yardage?
"Play physical at the line of scrimmage," Davis said.
Davis, who missed games against Mississippi State and LSU with an ankle injury, said Saturday's game is another opportunity for him to reach his goal.
"Overall, I think I'm playing well," Davis said. "I need to keep improving my game. I'm trying to be the best corner in the SEC. To get to that point, I have to keep improving every Saturday."
Montravius Adams expected to play against Texas A&M
Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said Sunday that freshman defensive tackle Montravius Adams should be ready to play full-speed at Texas A&M.
Adams suffered a knee injury against Ole Miss and did not play in last Saturday's 62-3 victory over Western Carolina. Johnson said he could have.
"We sort of took the cautious approach," Johnson said.
Cornerback Jonathan Jones, who played for the first time against Ole Miss, also did not dress for Saturday's game. Johnson said he did not know Jones' status.
C.J. Uzomah on track to return
Tight end C.J. Uzomah is on track to play against Texas A&M on Saturday, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said Sunday night.
"C.J. could have played last week," Lashlee said Sunday.
But, he said, Auburn took a cautious approach, like it did with quarterback Nick Marshall.
"He dressed out and was available, but it was a deal if we could keep him, maybe another couple of days to get rested, we need him full-strength the rest of the way," Lashlee said. "He practiced tonight. He'll be ready to go and we feel good about that."
-- Charles Goldberg
Davis to return to returning punts
Davis, Auburn's No. 1 punt returner before his injury, will return to that role Saturday at Texas A&M, he said.
"I think that takes my game to a whole different level overall, "Davis said. "I think that picks my game up on defense. I love having the ball in my hands."
Ellis Johnson says Jake Holland is`key for us'
Johnson hasn't heard the boos, but he's heard about them. And he's mystified.
Senior middle linebacker Jake Holland, a favorite target for some Auburn fans, has been a key to the Tigers steady progress on defense, Johnson said Sunday.
"Oh, he's been great," Johnson said. "He's the only one I had who had any genuine experience. He sets the defense and makes a lot next calls at the line of scrimmage. He's really been a key for us on that. Jake has made a lot more plays than people realize. The ones that people see are the space plays, and that's not his forte. But he makes a lot of plays in the box that some of the others are missing."
As for fans booing or criticizing, Johnson said it's misplaced.
"I don't hear it, but they don't know," Johnson said. "I'm glad we've got him."
Rhett Lashlee says Avery Young played well
Avery Young did well in his first start at right tackle.
"Very comfortable. It was good to get him meaningful game experience, too," said Rhett Lashlee.
Young was in for Patrick Miller, who didn't play because of an off-the-field issue, said coach Gus Malzahn.
"Avery is a very smart guy and really athletic," Lashlee said. "To get those reps and get all that new out of the way, I thought it was really good for him. I've got a lot of confidence in Avery."
Spread offenses reminiscent of the wishbone
Johnson said spread offenses like Texas A&M remind him of when the wishbone was piling up yards and points in the 1970's.
"You can't stop them," Johnson said. "You have to disrupt them. You have to find a way to disrupt them. You have to take away explosive plays. You have to get a negative yardage play and have a way to get off the field the next play. You have to have a turnover. You have to get off the field in the red zone. That's the only way you are going to manage the points."
Practice pays off for Melvin Ray
A lot of reserves played against Western Carolina. One was Melvin Ray, who caught three passes for 44 yards. Those were the first catches of his career.
"I was proud of Melvin Ray," Lashlee said. "He's a young man that's worked extremely hard over the last three or four weeks in practice. He made a couple of big third-down catches."
Freshman Tony Stevens also caught three passes, for 47 yards.
"Tony Stevens keeps coming on. It was good to see him score a touchdown," Lashlee said. "His reps are continuing to mount. Trovon Reed was a little more involved, we got the ball to Quan Bray a little bit, so it was good to spread it around. That was our goal going in. We knew we were going to run the football but we wanted to make plays in the passing game and we were able to do that."
-- Charles Goldberg