Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with Karlos Dansby, the current Miami Dolphin linebacker and former Auburn Tiger. Dansby is the Auburn representative for the Allstate Roadside Assistance Ticket Giveaway.
There are 10 pairs of tickets up for grabs at the Upper Deck Sports Bar and Grill in Scottsdale on Monday from 12 noon to 1 pm. Karlos will be there to sign autographs and greet fans as well as help fans register for the ticket giveaway.
Dansby took some time out of his schedule to answer some questions about this game and about his move to Miami. This is what Dansby had to say about Auburn, Coach Chizik, and the move this past year from the NFC to the AFC.
Ian Berg: Going into this year, the linebacker corps at Auburn was a concern because of the lack of depth, but week after week they seem to play lights out when it matters most. How do you feel they have performed so far this year?
Karlos Dansby: They have done a great job. They play real physical and have seen the best of both worlds by playing a team like Mississippi State who plays the run and gun, by playing a team in Alabama that likes to pound the ball. I expect them to play lights out and have a great game against Oregon.
IB: What are your thoughts on Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens' transition to the NFL? How will they fare?
KD: They have a great opportunity in the future. They play hard every play and are battle-tested in the SEC. No other conference prepares you week in and week out like the SEC. Just like in the NFL, you have to come to work every day. Those guys can come in and produce in the NFL.
IB: Fans may not realize you started your career as a safety at Auburn, is there any similarities you see in yourself and Daren Bates, a former safety and now outside linebacker?
KD: Definitely. Daren has a lot of range, he’s very instinctive. At the safety position you see a lot, how plays unfold and you have the opportunity to find interceptions. As he continues to develop, he has the opportunity to be real successful. You know that’s Chizik’s thing, he helps guys find their potential and gives them the best opportunity to better their career and make it (in the NFL).
IB: Keeping on Chizik, he was your coordinator at Auburn, did you see this coming with his hire?
KD: I did. A lot of people asked me what I thought about his record and how he would do and I told them two years ago, give him two years and he will evaluate his team, bring in JUCO guys that he needs to solidify his roster and he is going to make a run. He’s a great recruiter that knows central Florida real well. It’s exactly what I told them, two years later (they're) 13-0 and playing for the national championship. It’s awesome.
IB: Does this year seem to be somewhat of a vindication after what occurred in ’04?
KD: Definitely. It is time for Auburn to get the national recognition that it deserves. We produce and play at a high level, it’s time to add the national championship to our belt.
IB: How would you defend a guy like Cam Newton?
KD: (laughs) Everyone asks that question. I’m a professional and I find guys’ weakness. Everyone has a weakness, find it and exploit it. The thing about Cam is he has the size, the speed, and the toughness of a linebacker. It is hard to find one. He would be a hard down, a hard down every play.
I can’t wait to play against him in the NFL, hopefully with him. He is like a little brother to me. He’s a character and I love being around him. I had a chance to hang out with him in the spring. Great guy.
IB: Speaking of playing with former teammates, how is it getting the chance to play with Ronnie Brown again in Miami?
KD: It’s an awesome opportunity. I told him I was hoping to get the chance and come down and play with him. They gave me the chance and I jumped right in it. I love playing with him because we are always competing to make each other better. It is good for our careers and a chance for great memories.
IB: How was the transition to Miami?
KD: It was a good transition, I had to get used to the AFC coming from the NFC West. I had to get used to the East Coast mentality. It has been a good change. I am a flexible guy that can change anytime. I can cover receivers, take the backs as well. I just do a little bit of everything and have fun. It has been a great experience for me and I can’t wait until next year.
IB: A big question from Auburn fans: why do you mention your hometown instead of Auburn while doing your player bio. Thoughts on that?
KD: (laughs) I definitely want to represent my hometown. I had an awesome time and experience at Auburn. I had a great time there and Auburn gave me a great career and opportunity. You can’t take that away…to this day I miss Auburn and the atmosphere and being a player for Auburn University.
IB: Finally, a game prediction. Which team comes out on top?
KD: Auburn wins 32-24. War Eagle.
It was a great opportunity to talk with Karlos and get some insight into his experience with Auburn and Gene Chizik. If you missed the opportunity to get tickets to the game but are still planning to find tickets on site, go see Dansby at Upper Deck Grill in Scottsdale.
It is an opportunity to meet an Auburn great and get autographs, as well as a chance at one of the 10 pairs of tickets.