July 30, 2007

Auburn has lots of depth at DT

Auburn has the numbers at defensive tackle - six total - to begin two-a-days. But with the exception of senior Josh Thompson there's not a lot of experience.

Building up that experience by getting as many reps as possible for the young guys in preseason practice and early in the season is a major goal for AU d-tackle coach Don Dunn.

"Numbers-wise I feel real good," said Dunn. "I don't know if I've ever had six guys, five for sure, that I felt like we could throw them in the game and not lose a whole lot.

"The only concern is experience. I've got to get them a lot of experience as early as I can."

While the underclassmen gain experience, Dunn can rely on the steady Thompson along with fellow senior Tez Doolittle and junior Pat Sims to provide leadership and the bulk of the snaps.

Thompson started all 13 games last season totaling 44 tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack. He's been working hard in the offseason to improve those numbers.

"The biggest thing going into the summer for Josh was being a leader for us, which he's done a great job of, and just work on his flexibility and continue to maintain his weight," said Dunn. "We don't want him getting too big.

"He's real good against the run and double-teams. He's very strong but he doesn't have a lot of flexibility. He's worked real hard on his leadership and his flexibility."

One of the hardest working Tigers in the offseason has been Doolittle who's dropped nearly 25 pounds and could be poised for a breakout year.

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