Auburn Football 2011: Leadership and Experience Will Be Key for Tigers

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Auburn Football 2011: Leadership and Experience Will Be Key for Tigers
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The first thing that fans need to do before the 2011 season is clear their mind and reevaluate the team from scratch. This is not a difficult task as Auburn is only one year separated from doing exactly that.

In 2009 the Auburn Tigers came out against a tougher schedule and had much more to replace. The slate was clean and the team coming off a losing season. There were as many starters missing form the 2009 team as there will be in 2011.

The 2009 team had a completely new coaching staff, new starting receivers, new starting defensive tackles, new starting linebackers, a new starting safety, a new quarterback, a new starting corner and a new starting offensive tackle.

This was a team that came into the season having replaced all of that while learning a completely new offensive and defensive system. It was a team that was plagued with an overabundance of injuries and nowhere near the 85-scholarship limit on athletes as well.

The result was an 8-5 season that could easily have been 11-2 with a little luck here and there.

The 2011 Auburn team will begin its season with 83 scholarship athletes that rival or exceed the highest talent level ever at Auburn. While Auburn did lose a lot of seniors, there will be a dozen seniors on the 2011 squad.

If every player makes it through to starting day, there will be 12 seniors, 16 juniors, 20 sophomores and 34 freshmen (both redshirt and true). There is no shortage of seniors and juniors on this team, but were they leaders and producers?

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

 

Senior Class

Eric Smith: Fullback has played in 37 career games and all 14 games in 2010.

Neiko Thorpe: Corner has played in 38 career games and all 14 games in 2010.

Derek Winter: Receiver has played in 35 career games and all 14 games in 2010.

Mike McNeil: Safety has played in 39 career games and all 14 games in 2010.

ElToro Freeman: Linebacker has played in 22 career games and 12 games in 2010.

Quindarius Carr: Receiver has played in 39 career games and all 14 games in 2010.

Wade Christopher: Linebacker has played in 13 career games and five last season.

Drew Cole: Defensive back has played in 26 career games and 11 games in 2010.

Josh Harris: Long snapper has played in 27 career games and all 14 games in 2010.

A.J. Greene: Offensive tackle has played in six career games and three in 2010.

Jared Cooper: Offensive guard has played in 31 career games and 12 games in 2010.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Brandon Mosley: Offensive tackle has played in 14 career games and all 14 games in 2010.

This senior class has participated in a collective 327 games in their careers.

Nine of these seniors are expected to either start or play a very substantial role in the 2010 season.

 

Junior Class

Onterio McCalebb: Running back played in 25 career games and all 14 games in 2010.

Philip Lutzenkirchen: Tight end played in 26 career games and all 14 games in 2010.

DeAngelo Benton: Receiver played in 25 career games and nine games in 2010.

Emory Blake: Receiver played in 25 career games and all 14 games in 2010.

Travante Stallworth: Receiver played in 13 career games and three games in 2010.

Philip Pierre-Louis: Receiver played in 11 career games and four games in 2010.

John Sullen: Offensive guard played in 26 career games and 13 games in 2010.

Jamar Travis: Defensive tackle played in 23 career games and 13 games in 2010.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Derrek Lykes: Defensive tackle played in 16 career games and three games in 2010.

Joel Bonomolo : Defensive end is a JUCO transfer that redshirted in 2010.

Dee Ford: Defensive end played in 26 career games and 13 games in 2010.

Darren Bates: Linebacker played in 25 career games and 12 games in 2010.

Jonathan Evans: Linebacker played in 26 career games and 13 games in 2010.

T’Sharvan Bell: Corner played in 24 career games and 12 games in 2010.

Anthony Gully Morgan: Running back/defensive back played in 19 career games and eight games in 2010.

Barrett Trotter: Quarterback played in five career games and five in the 2010 season.

This junior class has participated in a collective 290 games in their careers.

Fourteen members of this junior class are expected to start or contribute heavily in 2011.

 

Sophomore Class

Clint Moseley: Quarterback has one game of career experience.

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Michael Dyer: Running back has 14 games of career experience.

Robert Cooper: Tight end has no career experience.

Antonio Goodwin: Receiver has 14 games of career experience.

Shaun Kitchens: Receiver has seven games of career experience.

Andre Harris: Offensive guard has no career experience.

Kenneth Carter: Defensive tackle has seven games of career experience.

Jeffrey Whitaker: Defensive tackle has 14 games of career experience.

Craig Sanders: Defensive end has 13 games of career experience.

Corey Lemonier: Defensive end has 14 games of career experience.

Nosa Eguae: Defensive end has 14 games of career experience

Jessel Curry: Linebacker has six games of career experience.

Harris Gaston: Linebacker has nine games of career experience.

Jake Holland: Linebacker has nine games of career experience.

Chris Davis: Corner has nine games of career experience.

Ryan White: Defensive back has six games of career experience.

Ryan Smith: Defensive back has 14 games of career experience.

Demetrus McNeal: Safety has 13 games of career experience.

Steven Clark: Punter has five games of experience.

Cody Parkey: Kicker has seven games of experience.

Eight players of this sophomore class have 12 or more games of career experience.

Thirteen of this sophomore class are expected to start or contribute significantly in the 2011 season.

Thirty-six upperclassmen are expected to start or contribute heavily to the 2011 Auburn Tigers football team. This is one of the highest totals in the SEC for 2011. While there were more seniors on the 2010 team, the experience level of the team as a whole is quite similar to what it was going into the 2010 season and well ahead of what it was starting 2009.

 

Conclusion

Leadership and experience will not be more abundant than any other team in the SEC for Auburn in 2011, but it will be as fully apparent. The Auburn Tigers stack up well to every team in the SEC when comparing senior leadership and team experience.

Many pundits and fans, especially those from upstate, like to point toward lost starters. Lost starters are a huge problem in the kind of system they run. In the Auburn system that plays about one-third more players per game, experience is not necessarily linked to starting. The most experienced defensive tackle and defensive end for Auburn in 2010 were backups.

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