Movement in Auburn's secondary answers only some questions
Seven days into practice and Auburn’s secondary has a lot of moving parts.
On Thursday, Ellis Johnson announced that freshman defensive back Nick Ruffin has been practicing at the star safety position and hasn’t done any work at corner or safety.
“He is starting to feel comfortable there and we don’t want to move him,” Johnson said after Thursday’s practice. “He has a lot of the same skills that (Robenson) Therezie has.”
Ruffin, a 6-foot, 174 pound Duluth, Georgia native, was recruited as a corner.
“The biggest thing that he has to improve on is blocking out in space or coming off the edge and having to take on a running back on a blitz or an outside running play,” said Johnson.
Ruffin will work in behind Therezie, Justin Garrett and Mackenro Alexander. Garrett, originally tabbed as the starter last season, suffered a foot sprain in camp last fall and missed the first two games of 2013. Therezie replaced Garrett, made two interceptions in the opener against Washington State game and started the rest of the year.
Putting Ruffin in a spot that he is more comfortable at gives depth to the star safety. Depth is lacking at cornerback though.
Jonathon Mincy is the projected starter at boundary corner but will not start the season-opener against Arkansas because of his June 27 arrest for possession of marijuana. Jonathan Jones, in the lead to start at field corner, will move over to take Mincy’s spot against the Razorbacks.
“We are very comfortable with Jonathan Jones but he isn’t a 75-play guy.” Johnson said Thursday.
Trovon Reed, moving from his wide receiver spot, Josh Holsey and Kamryn Melton are behind Jones at field corner.
Reed has missed time in practice with what Johnson calls a “nagging injury.” He was on the sideline the first day Auburn was in pads.
Johnson is being careful with Holsey, who is coming off ACL surgery. Holsey is wearing a brace and has occasionally missed reps because his knee was sore. Holsey can line up at either safety or corner. Johnson said in the spring if Auburn is deep enough at safety that Holsey would move to corner which he has.
Friday is Auburn’s first day off since fall camp started a week ago. Team pictures were taken earlier today. The coaching staff will spend the rest of the day looking at tape and have their first in-depth discussion about personnel.