Auguste optimistic on new role, 2010

Free safety says leaders needed for void left by Norwood

August 5, 2010 

USC's Akeem Auguste gains yardage in the first period during the Garnet and Black Spring game at Williams-Brice Stadium.

C. ALUKA BERRY/CABERRY@THESTATE.COM

Akeem Auguste is headed from cornerback to free safety for the 2010 season. He talks about the change and expectations for the season.

On making the move back to free safety: The transition is going pretty good. I started in spring, but I played it my freshman year so it really wasn't a big move for me.

I understand what I've got to do in my role for the team. And I'm trying to win, win the SEC. That's what they need me to play, that's what I'm going to play.

On expectations for the upcoming season: I feel like we need to be the SEC champs. That's our goal. That's our mindset. After the SEC champs, get a BCS bowl. We're really looking forward to doing real big things ... 7-5 ain't where we want to be.

On the mood of practices so far: We're a lot more enthusiastic out here. We're playing a lot faster. People are understanding their assignments a lot better.

On the defense's role in practice of helping the offense improve: We're ready to compete, try to make our receivers better so when they go up against some of the good corners in the SEC on Saturdays, they can perform.

We're more experienced than the offense is and trying to be a lot more aggressive with them ... trying to get at that softness mentality that people think we have on offense. We really don't. I really think our guys are very tough. We're just here to make everybody better.

On impressive newcomers: Vic Hampton, he's pretty good. He's catching on real fast. Ace Sanders, he's pretty fast. I've been getting him in one-on-ones and he's pretty good. I like him. He's going to play a lot this year.

On Spurrier saying the defensive line is probably going to be the strength of the defense this year: I love our d-lineman. I think our d-lineman our great. But I feel like we've got a lot of experience in the secondary. And as a whole I feel like our whole team, our whole defense is real experienced and ready to play.

Turnovers, we need turnovers this year. Score on defense, turnovers. That's our job.

On replacing Eric Norwood on defense: You can't replace a guy like 40 ... 40 was a real backbone of the team.

We're trying to get Cliff (Matthews) in his type of role, and Cliff is real capable of doing what Norwood does. But Norwood was Norwood. You can't really explain how he plays sometimes. ...

I've got to take more of a leadership role. Cliff, Ladi (Ajiboye) ... we've got to step up a little bit more because we ain't got Wood to be our backbone. We've got to be the backbone.

On reports of Southern Miss predicting a victory in the season-opener: I heard a couple things, but I'm really not going to comment on it. We'll see on Thursday (Sept. 2). That's all I've got to say.

Compiled by Dwayne McLemore

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