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Auburn notebook: Safeties improving, says Gus Malzahn
Nov. 5, 2014

Auburn safety Rudy Ford sizes up another tackle

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Auburn coach Gus Malzahn changed up his safeties in the last game, and came away feeling confident in "everybody we put out there."

"We think all of those guys can get the job done," Malzahn said after Wednesday's practice. 

Derrick Moncrief made his first start in last week's win at Ole Miss as he took a more significant role with fellow starter Rudy Ford and backup Josh Holsey. They'll get the call again in Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game against Texas A&M.

Malzahn said Ford has performed well and Moncrief has "gotten better as the season goes along. We feel like we’ve got three guys back there that can get the job done." Ford leads Auburn with 60 tackles and has two interceptions. Holsey has 32. Moncrief is playing catch up with 17.

Moncrief said after his first start that he felt like he played "all right."

"I could have done better. I missed a couple of tackles, and I thrive on tackles. Next time, I'll perform better," he said. 

Moncrief was asked if he felt pressure. "I wouldn't call it pressure. Pressure is not knowing what you're doing. That's pressure. But it was exciting. We just stayed calm and knew we'd come through at the end," he said.


• Defensive end Carl Lawson hasn't played because of offseason knee surgery, and Malzahn said there's no timetable for him to return this season.

"Like I have said before, until he’s 100 percent healthy, my No. 1 concern is his long-term health. He’s a great player and has a great future. That's all there really is to it right now."

• Malzahn said Auburn has had a solid week of practice. 

"We really challenged our team to raise their level in all areas. I think our guys responded," he said. "It's getting down to the end of the season. The games are very important, and our leadership is really showing up and stepping up. That's a very good feeling as a coach."

• Malzahn again said freshman running back Roc Thomas should play Saturday after leaving the Ole Miss game early with an injured ankle. 

• Freshman walk-on deep snapper Ike Powell could start over Forrest Hill, who was hurt at Ole Miss. Powell played, too.

"Ike Powell will probably end up doing a lot of that duty," Malzahn said.  

• Auburn's 13 penalties for 145 yards against Ole Miss was still a topic Wednesday.

"There's undisciplined penalties, there's effort penalties. But the bottom line is that we had too many," Malzahn said. "As a head coach, I'm the one responsible for that. I've got to correct that, and we will correct that."

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



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