March 11, 2008

Young d-ends stepping up this spring

When Michael Goggans stepped onto Auburn's practice fields for the first time this spring, he found himself in an unfamiliar spot -- on the first team.

The sophomore defensive end played in all 13 games as a backup last season but is being counted on for much more in 2008.

"It's a very different mindset," said Goggans. "When you get the first-team opportunity you have to step up and show the coaches what you can do. I'm trying to show the coaches I have the ability to play right there.

"I think the coaches like what they see right now but I still got things to work on."

After totaling just nine tackles, two tackles-for-loss and one sack in limited action last year, Goggans came into spring knowing he had a lot of work to do. So far, he's taking that step forward, and has caught the eye of AU defensive ends coach Terry Price.

"He's a guy that's improved," said Price. "Obviously he's had to with the position he's in. He's a guy that's stepped up and gotten better but he's not done yet. He's got a lot of work to do but the kid has really worked hard. He's trying to do what we ask him to do and he's making strides."

As the strongside end that often lines up directly across from a tight end or offensive tackle, Price is counting on Goggans to develop into a strong run defender.

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