Auburn, Ala.--Eric Brock, who is running first team at the strong safety spot where Junior Rosegreen earned All-American honors last season, was a big reason why the defense helped keep the offense out of the end zone at the annual Auburn A-Day spring football game.
Brock, a redshirt sophomore from Alexander City, has played solidly throughout the spring and A-Day was not an exception. He had one of the biggest hits of the game when he drilled Tre Smith as the tailback tried to catch a deep pass over the middle.
Having a chance to get physical is fun, Brock says. “Whenever there is full contact, the defense gets excited and plays at a different level,” Brock says. “We like it when we get to go out there and rough up some of the offensive players.
“I think overall the defense did a pretty good job of containing the offense and keeping everything in front of us so no big plays could hurt us,” Brock notes. “If we keep everything in front of us, we can play another down.”
Eric Brock gets physical with tailback Tre Smith during the A-Day game.
Brock and the other Auburn safeties have needed to be on their toes this spring because they are the last line of defense playing behind a youthful linebacker corps with the three returning starters out of action while they are recovering from injuries. However, Brock doesn’t seem worried about the situation.
“I think the young guys at linebacker are coming along,” he says. “It is really going to help us in the long run because we are going to have confidence in those guys to come out there and give us quality plays. We just have to play hard and everything will be all right.”
Brock benefitted from Tony Bell missing the first 10 practices of the spring because Coach Tommy Tuberville decided that Bell needed to work on his academics. Bell is back in the mix, but will have lots of work to do to catch Brock, who was behind Brock on the depth chart going into spring drills.
What is it going to take for Brock to stay on the first team? “It is going to take a lot of filmwork and work in the offseason,” he says. “I need to continue to grow as a football player. The athletic ability has to continue to grow because there is always someone out there trying to get that spot. I plan to continue to work hard and get better as a player.”
Brock and the defense head into their final two practices following a solid performance on A-Day. “I think I played pretty good for the most part,” the safety says. “I tried to stay over the ball and keep my eyes on my read. Coach told us to just go out there and play hard, give it a good show. I enjoyed it.
“Last year, I was kind of banged up,” he adds. “I pulled my hamstring last year. This is really my first full go at 100 percent. I was trying to make a lot of plays and be active on the field.”
One big plus about playing safety for the Tigers this year should be a strong pass rush, especially from a quartet of fast and athletic ends--Stanley McClover, Quentin Groves, Marquis Gunn and Christopher Browder. “Stanley, Quentin, Marquis and Chris get great pressure on the quarterback,” Brook says. “It is like the quarterback is always in a hurry to get rid of the ball. It is easy to key off him because the quarterback doesn’t have time to look one way and then throw the other way.”