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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Auburn plans to move Daren Bates around

I wrote a story on Auburn sophomore Daren Bates, an SEC All-Freshman safety who will try his hand in a new role this spring. Here's how it starts:

AUBURN, Ala. — Of Auburn’s surprise stories last season, Daren Bates’ is hard to top.

Lightly recruited out of Olive Branch, Miss., Bates went from relative obscurity to cornerstone of the Tigers’ secondary in a matter of weeks, starting all 13 games at one safety spot and earning SEC All-Freshman honors.

But here’s another surprise: the Tigers are moving Bates to a hybrid safety/linebacker role.

“We’re trying to get as much speed as we can on the field right now,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said.

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easyedwin said...

But, AB, don't we need speed at Safety also?

ExKnightMike said...

I'm not AB, but I think between Savage, McNeil and possibly Etherage we've got plenty of speed and experience at safety.

While these other safetys are about as fast as Bates, the linebackers aren't, so putting Bates at LB on certain plays should increase the overall speed on the field.

Andy Bitter said...

I agree with ExKnightMike. Bates is probably of average speed in the secondary.

At linebacker, he's very quick, relatively speaking. And he's big enough that it's not like he'll be overwhelmed by all the contact and physicality.

It's the classic speed shift in college football that Florida State made famous in the '90s. Linebackers become defensive linemen; safeties become linebackers. Teams do everything they can to get faster.