August 16, 2012

NOTEBOOK: Smith, Whitehead make a move at safety

AUBURN -- Cross safety off the list of positions lacking a clear starter.

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said Thursday that junior Ryan Smith and sophomore Jermaine Whitehead have pulled ahead of the other safeties vying for the most high-profile spots.

"Ryan and Jermaine have kind of separated themselves in respect to being able to (operate) the entire defense," VanGorder said. "There's a lot on their plate, a lot of communication involved. A lot of recognition invoked that leads to communication. Both of them have been ahead of the other guys. It's still competitive."

Smith has been competing with sophomores Erqiue Florence and Trent Fisher at free safety. The competition was expected to be fierce, particularly between Smith and Florence, but Florence clearly has failed to keep pace during the past week.

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