Young Defensive Back Taking Bulldogs Seriously

<b>Montae Pitts (19) works in practice.</b>

Cornerback Montae Pitts discusses Auburn's homecoming contest and the play of the secondary.

Auburn, Ala--Sophomore cornerback Montae Pitts has stepped up his play as a starter in 2004 and is looking forward to Saturday's Homecoming contest against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

"It's going to be a tough game," Pitts says "We can't overlook them. We're taking it one game at a time and they have a great running back (Ryan Moats). He's like Barry Sanders. He's all over the place and he's making plays all by himself.

"He's tremendous, but they're going to have to pass if they want to hang in the game. Our secondary is pretty good, and we're stopping the run. We're going to go out there and take them as any other team like a big SEC game."

Pitts and the Auburn defense are off to a hot start this season and are coming off a 24-point win against Tennessee in Knoxville. But the Tigers weren't the only team with an impressive win last Saturday. Louisiana Tech beat 17th-ranked Fresno State 28-21.

"At first I was like, ‘Okay, LA Tech--that's a win' when I was trying to pick the wins in the preseason," Pitts says. "But we've seen them on tape. Fresno State is a pretty good team, No. 17 in the country, and LA Tech played them pretty hard. And they've played Miami and Tennessee so they've been to the big stadiums and they're going to be ready to play us and we're going to have to perform like we've done all year."

Montae Pitts

Pitts earned his first career start in last season's finale in the Music City Bowl against Wisconsin. He kept his starting role through preseason practice, but was suspended for the 2004 opener for a violation of team rules. Since then Pitts and the rest of the Auburn secondary have played extremely well, allowing an average of only 142.8 yards per game.

"We've been working on technique so much, and as long as we stick to it we'll be all right," he says. "Will Herring has been making big hits, Junior Rosegreen has been all over the place catching the ball, Carlos Rogers locks them down and I do a little bit of my own. Overall we're doing pretty good."

Auburn leads the all-time series with Louisiana Tech 9-0-1 with the last contest coming in 2001. Auburn won in overtime 48-41 one week after knocking off the top-ranked Florida Gators.

"I was at that game," Pitts says of Auburn's last game against the Bulldogs. "It was my senior year (of high school) when Deandre Green caught that touchdown to win it. I was kind of shocked at how close it was. They came to play. That game sticks in the back of my mind."

This year's game will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. as the Tigers, who are ranked sixth nationally, try to improve to 6-0 vs. the 3-2 Bulldogs.

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