NCAA Football

2012 Auburn Football Preview: Defensive Tackles

The Auburn football team has produced strong rush attacks through the middle of the line for years. The Tigers 2012 defensive tackle position will not only have tons of talents, it will also have experience, something Auburn does not have at most positions.

Jeffrey Whitaker is expected to be a leader in Auburn’s deep defensive line. The junior, who started in all 13 games last season, only recorded 25 tackles in 2011, but is expected to have a bigger impact on the field this year after losing more than 20 pounds during the break. Gaining speed and a more explosive start, the junior should thrive in coordinator Brian VanGorder‘s aggressive rush attack.

Whitaker’s starting role appears to be safe, but there is a large question mark for the other starting position. Ken Carter and Gabe Wright, who both were part-time starters in 2011, missed spring drills due to injuries. Carter’s shoulder surgery had him miss the entirety of practice while Wright’s injury early during the spring did not allow him to return.

Despite the amount of talent between Carter and Wright, being sidelined opened the door to give other Tigers a chance to make a push at a starting spot. Jamar Travis, Angelo Blackson and Devaunte Sigler all made positive strides during the spring with the senior Travis being the surprise of the group. Blackson and Sigler, both sophomore, have a chance to win the starting spot and are expected to have decent amounts of playing time regardless. Travis will add depth to the position, which Auburn did not have at tackle in 2011.

The Tigers defensive line has a chance to do something special for Auburn in 2012. Whitaker and Carter provide experience on the field while Wright and Blackson have talent that should only show more often as experience is gained. The rotation of the defensive tackles for the 2012 team should show a significant improve from the 2011 team.