October 20, 2012

NOTEBOOK: McKinzy brings physical edge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Cassanova McKinzy's first start couldn't have been more productive.

The true freshman, who moved ahead of junior Jake Holland last week, tied for the Tigers' lead in tackles Saturday with 12. He played with remarkable aggression between the tackles and showed no fear when tracking down Vanderbilt's tailbacks.

"His physical traits showed up," defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said. "His size and ability to run were apparent a number of times in the game. I really respect the work that he put in this week to get ready. He was grinding to get himself ready to play in this game. That meant a lot for all of us to see."

McKinzy was one of Auburn's most high-profile signees last winter and was expected to win the top reserve role out of fall camp. Instead, struggles with strategy forced him to play behind both Holland and senior Ashton Richardson throughout September.

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