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Powers Anxious To Get Back To Work
Auburn, Ala.--Without question one of Auburn's most important players on the 2008 roster is junior cornerback Jerraud Powers. Integral on defense as well as special teams, Powers is one of the leaders on Paul Rhoads' defense this season. That made his absence because of a strained hamstring particularly tough to deal with last weekend against Arkansas as the Razorbacks consistently threw at his replacement, true freshman Neiko Thorpe, much of the night. Powers says even though Thorpe gave up some plays he did a very good job in his first start. "Neiko played well," Powers says. "He went in there knowing they were going to come after him. He knew he had to step up to the challenge. He got a pick. We were picking on him earlier about how he got ran down. We thought he was a track guy coming in here. He got his first pick and played well. He had a few tackles. I don't think we missed a beat from a corner standpoint as far as play, but leadership wise we probably did." Watching from the sidelines as his team struggled on both sides of the ball in the loss, Powers says he finally felt what everyone else feels when watching a game. He notes that makes him want to get back on the field even sooner to help his team. "I felt our fans, what they go through," Powers says. "It was tough watching it, just wanting to be out there and realizing how I could have been a difference from a defensive standpoint from just a leadership perspective. Being on the field we seemed a little lackadaisical on a few things. I was feeling like I was letting my team down by sitting and watching. It was something I just couldn't handle. It was tough." With an off week the Tigers took Sunday and Monday off before returning to the practice field on Tuesday. That gave Powers a little extra time to rest his sore hamstring and he says it's feeling better as he tries to get back in time for the West Virginia game next Thursday. "I ran on it and it felt pretty good," Powers says. "I didn't run on it full speed so I don't know how that feels yet, but as of right now it feels good. I'm expecting to play. I don't know what they're expecting yet, but I'm expecting to play. I'm going to keep preparing and getting ready like I'm playing." It has been a very tough two weeks for the Tigers as they dropped a game at Vanderbilt in which Powers got hurt and didn't return in the second half along with fellow defensive standout Sen'Derrick Marks (ankle). Then came the loss to Arkansas after a week that featured the firing of offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. Powers says that while things haven't gone smoothly the team is focused on finishing on a positive note. "Everybody is a little down," Powers says. "I'm sort of happy that we've got a bye week to try to regroup and make sure everybody stays focused. There is still some football left to be played. People are sort of down about how the season is going. We're going to bounce back. We're going to keep preparing and working hard, just go out there and play football and get back to the basics."
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