July 27, 2006

Tigers looking for two new starters at d-tackle

The numbers are there but can Auburn find as much production out of its defensive tackle position after losing two starters? That's a question coach Don Dunn intends to answer when fall practice gets underway next week.

Gone are T.J. Jackson and Wayne Dickens, and returning is a mix of less experienced veterans and a host of underclassmen.

"I'm optimistic but it's a guarded optimism," said Dunn. "I'm concerned we lost two great leaders from last year. They did a great job for us. We've got to find some kids to step up now. I'm looking for some leadership."

Junior noseguard Josh Thompson has already stepped into a leadership role, taking charge of the defensive line in unofficial workouts this summer. He returns as Auburn's most experienced interior lineman playing in 23 games the past two seasons.

"He has a desire to compete. Josh loves football and hates losing," said Dunn. "He wants to do well and be respected by his teammates. That's something you can't coach and that makes him a good football player even though he doesn't have all the god-given talent in the world."

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