September 1, 2009

Depth chart loaded with freshmen

Gene Chizik will field a young team his first season on the Plains.

Very young.

A total of 10 true freshmen are listed as first- or second-team on the depth chart for the Louisiana Tech game. Chizik said Auburn fans should get used to seeing 10-12 true freshmen playing this season.

"You're going to see a lot of new faces everywhere," Chizik said.

Injuries, suspensions and a lack of depth have forced some freshmen into early playing roles. Others are too good to keep off the field.

"The thing we look for in young guys is guys being able to come in and grab your attention early," Chizik said. "To do something that separates him from all the other guys."

Safety Daren Bates is the only true freshman listed as a starter on defense or offense. After showing up a couple of days late waiting on the NCAA Clearinghouse, Bates made his presence known early.

In fact, it was the first preseason scrimmage Aug. 11, that junior Zac Etheridge knew Bates was something special.

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