Dec. 30, 2013
The practice fields are set at UC-Irvine for Auburn's arrival and work toward the BCS Championship Game
By Charles Goldberg
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- What has Chris Davis been doing this season besides landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated and returning a missed field goal 109 yards to beat Alabama?
Leading Auburn in tackles.
Davis has 69 tackles heading to the BCS Championship Game against Florida State on Jan. 6 to lead a busy secondary. Defensive backs are five of the top six tackling Tigers. DBs make a lot of tackles, anyway, and they've been particularly busy this season with the advent of defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson's new Star position… and the fact Auburn has faced the second most passes in the SEC.
They figure to be busy in the BCS title game, too, against Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston. Auburn practiced Monday on campus before its scheduled flight that will eventually take to the Tigers to their very-closed workouts at UC-Irvine before playing the BCS title game in Pasadena.
Here's a look at Auburn's top 12 tacklers and their best games (at least statistically):
Chris Davis, 69 tackles. His 49 solo tackles are also the best. Spends his spare time leading the SEC in punt returns. Leads Tigers with 14 passes broken up. Had 10 tackles against Arkansas State.
Cassanova McKinzy, 66 tackles. A linebacker who is crashing the defensive back tackling party. Had 10 tackles against Tennessee and Missouri. Tied for third on the team with 7 ½ tackles for a loss and has an interception.
Jermaine Whitehead, 62 tackles. Has two interceptions. Best tackling game: Alabama with nine tackles.
Ryan Smith, 62 tackles. Want to be remembered? Have a team-best 10 tackles against Alabama. Three interceptions this season also a plus.
Robenson Therezie, 55 tackles, including eight against LSU. Bonus points: Team-best four interceptions -- or twice as many as all of the 2012 Tigers.
Jonathon Mincy, 54 tackles. Has an interception and has broken up 12 passes, second best on the team. Nine tackles at Arkansas.
Kris Frost, 52 tackles. A linebacker who had six tackles against Texas A&M, Alabama and Missouri.
Ryan White, 49 tackles. Best tackling game: Eight against Mississippi State.
Jake Holland, 45 tackles. Eight tackles against Mississippi State. Interception, too.
Gabe Wright, 30 tackles. The first defensive lineman on the list. Second on the team with 8 ½ tackles for a loss. He had four tackles against Ole Miss and Alabama.
LaDarius Owens, 28 tackles. Has 4½ tackles for a loss. Had six against Arkansas State.
Dee Ford, 26 tackles. Comes in at 12th on the list, but his value is greater than that. Missed two games, but still leads Auburn with 12½ tackles for a loss, including 8 ½ sacks. Also tops in quarterback hurries with 17½. One of his biggest plays barely shows up on the stat sheet, but crashing into Georgia's Aaron Murray to cause an errant pass on the game's final play is memorable.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine