News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Versatile Powers learning, playing
Former Decatur standout knows defensive backfield

By Bradley Handwerger 340-2462

AUBURN — Just a redshirt freshman, Jerraud Powers feels like he has seen nearly everything Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp can throw at him.

Well, almost everything.

"I joke around sometimes that I'm a linebacker," Powers said. "But that's a beating. I'm not sure my body can handle it."

But if you're looking for someone with knowledge of Muschamp's secondary, Powers is the guy you need to find.

While No. 10 Auburn (10-2) prepares for its Jan. 1 Cotton Bowl date against No. 22 Nebraska (9-4), Powers prepares for possible playing time at cornerback, safety, nickel back and the dime position.

All are considered defensive backs. And all are positions Powers knows well.

Some players might not like all of the work involved in learning four positions, but don't count Powers as one of those players.

"It makes me a smarter player and has helped me mature quickly," said Powers, a former Decatur High standout. "There's not too much room for mistakes. It's going to help me grow up."

Powers' 2006 certainly helped him grow up. He finished with 11th on the team with 25 tackles, blocked a punt, recovered a fumble, and recovered an onside kick.

"Jerraud Powers continues to be very versatile in what he's doing," Muschamp said.

It all started for Powers before Auburn's game against LSU game on Sept. 16. It marked Auburn's third game of the year, and starting cornerback Jonathan Wilhite went down with a tweaked hamstring in the second quarter.

So Powers stepped in, playing well and not allowing LSU to
complete any deep passes against him.

And then classes got under way.

"I started at corner," Powers

"Then coach told me I needed to learn the nickel. I was like, 'Cool, it'll give me more opportunities to get on the field.' I learned nickel then got comfortable.

"Then he was like, 'Now I need you to learn the dime.' I was like, 'All right.' Nickel wasn't too tough, so I'll learn the dime. The dime was sort of confusing because it's sort of similar to the nickel with a few wrinkles.

"Then he was like, now 'I need you to learn the safety.' Safety was right before UGA. I'm like, 'Oh my goodness.' "

Still, Powers wouldn't change his first full season for anything.

"Like going into fall camp, my main goal was to push guys and find a spot anywhere in the rotation," Powers said. "I think that's sort of what I did, having to learn all the positions."

Now he has one more game to look forward to in his first season.

"I'm excited a lot about the first bowl game," Powers said. "Just to play Nebraska, that's like a five-star prestige program. They got a lot of history like we do. I think it'll be a great game."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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