Reserve Cornerback Wants Prime-Time Action

<b>Zach Gilbert</b>

Auburn, Ala.--Redshirt freshman cornerback Zach Gilbert is looking to earn a starting job opposite Carlos Rogers for the Georgia game after defensive coordinator Gene Chizik announced that the spot was up for grabs.

Sophomore Montae Pitts and junior Kevin Hobbs have played the most at the position this season, but big plays allowed by the two prompted Chizik to voice his obvious displeasure to the media following Tuesday's practice. Chizik said that Gilbert and redshirt freshman Patrick Lee will have a shot to take over the spot.

"He just told us in the meeting on Sunday that the position was going to be open," Gilbert says. "He's re-opening the position and the best corner is going to play. All of us have been in there competing. It's been competitive and I think it's good too, because it brings the game out of Montae and Kevin, Pat and me. It's bringing the competition level out of all of us.

"It's a great opportunity because I just think every time where I came from," he adds. "Just getting the opportunity to play in some of these games, I've been proud to play. In the games I didn't play, hey, I'm part of the number three team in the nation and whatever I can do to help them out I'm going to do it."

Gilbert was an invited walk-on in 2003 and spent his first season in Auburn on the scout team. During preseason practices in 2004, he made an immediate impact after Auburn lost David Irons, Jr. to a torn ACL and Courtney Denson decided to transfer. Gilbert has played in almost every game this season, and has played well when he's gotten the opportunity.

If he earns a starting role by the time Georgia visits Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 13, it should provide an interesting matchup. Gilbert, at only 5-10, will be lining up against Georgia starting receivers Fred Gibson, who is 6-4, and Reggie Brown, who is 6-2.

"They're not that physical but they have good releases, run good routes and they go get the ball," Gilbert says of Georgia's wideouts. "Nothing will cause a problem with me, whoever I'm on. Height doesn't have anything to do with it. It can jump, too.

"I'm a competitor," he adds. "This is a great opportunity for me. If feel like if I get to start against these guys, I won't be scared of them because height has nothing to do with it. It's all in what you have in your heart."

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