April 11, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — It's not a marathon. It's full-out sprint. It's Auburn's fast-paced offense against Auburn's defense in every spring practice.
The winner? Well, safety Trent Fisher says the defense is keeping up.
"Our offense is fast. They can get a play and get lined up. With what we're doing on defense, we're being able to handle it," Fisher says.
Coach Gus Malzahn brought his fast-paced offense to Auburn in 2009. Now, after a one-year absence in 2012, Malzahn is back and on speed dial. Other SEC teams have picked up the offensive pace, too.
"With the way we're getting calls in, and the way our defense is functioning, the defense will be able to handle that kind of offense," Fisher says.
The new coaching staff has streamlined the defensive calls since last year. Defensive backs will know more than one position so they can adapt quickly to offenses that are on the go. Fisher, for example, is learning the free safety spot as well as the safety that protects the boundary. Right. Left. Doesn't matter.
"The signals, getting guys lined up, that's part of the reason we want to be able to get guys to play boundary or free. If we are running back and forth, there would be no way we could get lined up in time," he said.
"We've just got to communicate. That was the big thing last year. Now with that hybrid, star safety, we've all got to make sure we can communicate with each other."
The streamlined calls should help, as opposed to last season.
"You play Texas A&M and you're trying to think, figure out and process the call and get the signal from the sideline, and they're running the ball right at you," Fisher said. "I can just stay on the right, he can stay on the left, and we can get the call and we're ready to go."
Fisher ran with the first-team defense in Auburn's last practice, on Wednesday. That's pretty good for a guy who "walked on, redshirted that first year, got on special teams and broke my ankle."
Fisher, who was awarded a scholarship last spring, had 16 tackles and one of the team's two interceptions last season. He returned his 60 yards for a touchdown.
"Last year it was great to play a little defense and contribute on special teams. I'm hoping to get more and more snaps on defense this year, so I'm excited," Fisher said.
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