March 17, 2014

NOTEBOOK: New solutions


AUBURN | There will be some old faces in new places during the Tigers' spring practice period.

Coach Gus Malzahn on Monday confirmed an earlier report that Trovon Reed, a rising senior who's spent the past four seasons at wideout, now has designs on playing cornerback. The coach also said that rising sophomore Rudy Ford will remain on defense, but will switch his focus from cornerback to safety.

Ford's switch is the bigger surprise. After signing with Auburn in 2013 as a speed back, the New Hope native instead spent his first varsity season at cornerback. He emerged as a second-team player there and earned some playing time there during two blowout wins.

Malzahn believes Ford can play a bigger role at safety.

"We felt like he's capable of being a very good player for us," Malzahn said. "Just felt like there was more of a need at that position right now. He's got a great attitude and (I'm) really looking forward to seeing how he does."

Auburn returns field safety Jermaine Whitehead, but lost boundary safety Ryan Smith to graduation. Joshua Holsey, who suffered a torn knee ligament in October, likely won't be participating in full-contact drills this spring. That means the Tigers will open spring practice with six players in the personnel pool at safety: Ford, Whitehead, rising senior Brandon King, rising junior Derrick Moncrief and rising sophomore Khari Harding.

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