Last year, Auburn‘s Ryan White was an underclassman who believed he knew better than the coaches. After playing early and being benched, the cornerback felt the coaches had something against him, he said Tuesday night.
Once his father called to his attention what he was doing wrong while the two watched film together, White felt embarrassed and realized he did in fact deserve to be benched. Since then, it’s been an been an uphill battle that Smith has been successful in fighting.
“I told him, I said, ‘Man, I don’t know what happened, but man you’re balling,’” defensive back T’Sharvan Bell said Tuesday night about White. “He’s more urgent. He’s trying to step up and be a leader. Maybe it’s come with his age, this being his junior year, but I don’t care what it is, I just like seeing it from him.”
The junior has been running with the first team this fall and is expected to win a starting position for new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.
Still watching film every chance his gets, White said VanGorder has a system of counting mental errors (M.E.) during practice that, if added up too high, will punish the player. Things as small as being lined up a yard off the design will result in an M.E. White said the lowest amount he’s had per practice is one or two. Chris Davis was the only cornerback White could name who has not received any in a single practice.
White will continue his duties as the holder in the fall and may spend some time at nickel as well.
The depth Auburn has in the secondary should provide a significant increase in passing defense after the Tigers finished last in the Southeastern Conference a season ago.