Auburn, Ala.--Maybe no incoming freshman in Auburn history has had as much knowledge of the inner workings of the program than defensive tackle Bart Eddins from Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery.
The son of former Auburn All-SEC player Liston Eddins and brother of recent defensive end Bret Eddins, he has several areas of wisdom to draw from about what to expect as a Tiger. He said that Tuesday was a day he has dreamed about since he was a little kid.
“In a way it’s a dream come true, but I feel real comfortable being here,” Eddins says. “My aunt lives down the street, hearing stories from my dad, my brother playing here kind of helped me get behind the scenes. In a way it’s kind of like I have already been here. I feel real comfortable around the coaches and around everybody else.
"At the same time I realize I’m not anyone special," he adds. "I’m a freshman coming in and I’m going to have to bust my butt to get playing time.”
A defensive end and tackle in high school, Eddins was recruited as a defensive end, but quickly made the transition over the summer to learn the defensive tackle position. At 6-5 and between 275 and 280 pounds depending on the time of day, Eddins has the size to play right away, but knows that’s going to be tough to do as a true freshman.
“I don’t know,” he says. “I’m going to have to work hard to get some playing time if I even see a little bit. I know I’m going to have to work hard for it. I was recruited to play defensive end, but they’ve already told me I’m going to be playing defensive tackle. My feelings weren’t hurt. That’s fine, just put me anywhere to help out the team and I’m game.”
“I think at Auburn you have to run a 4.3 40 to play defensive end,” Eddins adds. “As fast as Stanley (Stanley McClover) and Q (Quentin Groves) and Gunn (Marquies Gunn) are, they’re amazingly fast. I’m the slow guy when I got out there with them. I definitely think moving to defensive tackle with me being bigger will help out my chances.”
Bart Eddins is a physical player who could help the Tigers right away if he shows promise during two-a-days.
While it should help Eddins’ chances to play and play well at Auburn, head coach Tommy Tuberville says it could be right away as the Tigers have very little experience returning in the middle of the defensive front. Although he concedes that there is a chance to help out, Eddins says he’s not sure there’s a lot of room for playing time at the position after all.
“Working out and running I know how good these guys are,” Eddins points out. “If they weren’t good they still wouldn’t be here. People talk like we’re hurting at defensive tackle and I really don’t think we are. You’ve got CB (Christopher Browder), you’ve got Pat Sims who is athletic, you’ve got Sen (Sen’Derrick Marks) who is athletic, you’ve to Tez (Tez Doolittle) and you’ve got Josh (Josh Thompson). You’ve got all these people and everybody acts like we’re hurting, but I don’t think we are.”
Hurting is something that Eddins and his fellow freshman did a lot of this summer getting used to life in the SEC. That’s because the workouts that players go through on this level are unlike anything they have ever experienced. Eddins says he remembers vividly the day he realized this was a different world he was in now.
“I think it was the first time we started running,” Eddins notes. “I did all the running and did a little bit extra. I thought I was in great shape. I think we were running 90’s (90-yard sprints). I think I heard we were running 12 and I thought, ‘Man this is going to be easy.' I was used to running like 15 on my clock. I busted my butt on the first three and I was like ‘I’m about to throw up.' Then you have Tim Duckworth over there just jogging along as fine as can be. I was like ‘Oh my God, what I have gotten myself into?’ It was an eye opener but helped me also.”
Eddins now prepares for his first practice as an Auburn Tiger, a day he’s dreamed about his entire life. Getting ready for the experience Eddins says he sought the advice of his father who only had a few choice words for him. They may end up being words to live by if Eddins does indeed make some noise as a freshman.
“Don’t ever give up,” Eddins says of his father’s words. “Don’t quit. Don’t talk back to the older guys. Do what you’re told.”
Other scholarship freshmen who will be starting practice this week include 6-3, 329 center Mike Berry, 6-4, 274 defensive lineman Mike Blanc, 6-3, 195 quarterback Neil Caudle, 6-3, 272 defensive end Zach Clayton, 6-2, 207 quarterback Steven Ensminger, 5-11, 191 defensive back Zaccheus Etheridge, 5-11, 214 running back Mario Fannin, 6-3, 258 tight end Michael Goggans, 6-3, 207 wide receiver Tim Hawthorne, 6-3, 282 defensive tackle Byron Isom, 6-0, 221 linebacker Hendrick Leverette, 6-4, 258 defensive end Bryant Miller, 6-4, 294 defensive tackle Jermarcus Ricks, 6-4, 265 defensive end Darrell Roseman, 6-0, 187 punter Bryan Shoemaker, 6-7, 303 offensive lineman Lee Tilley and 6-1, 197 wide receiver Terrell Zachery.
2006 Inside the Auburn Tigers Auburn Football Guide