Amid fall camp, Auburn’s secondary is establishing leadership and trust in safety Daniel Thomas.
In a notable freshman season, Thomas established a name for himself after intercepting two passes in the Iron Bowl in 2016. Now securing a starting role at free safety, Thomas has big shoes to fill.
And he knows that.
“I try to make sure everybody is on the same page,” Thomas said after practice Monday. “I try to communicate as much as I can.”
The Tigers lost three prominent starters on defense in Carlton Davis, Stephen Roberts and Tray Mathews, but much as been made of the freshman defensive backs, including backup safeties Jamien Sherwood and Smoke Monday.
“I felt good back there, watching Tray Mathews," Thomas said of watching the veterans over the past two seasons. "I just learn from him and try to pick up off of him."
During spring practice, Thomas, along with fellow starting safety Jeremiah Dinson, have been calling plays and checks, establishing a relationship of trust with defensive coordinator coach Kevin Steele.
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“It lets the coaches know they can trust you," Thomas said. "In a game-time decision, they feel like when they make a call, Daniel Thomas can get the play to them.”
Energy and accountability are two unique assets Thomas brings to the defensive side of the ball, and the rest of Steele's unit has been made to take note. Last week, senior middle linebacker Deshaun Davis said that when he, Dinson and Thomas are on the field together, everyone knows their role.
On top of taking reps together, Thomas said “getting onto each other when were wrong and talking it out on the sidelines” helps everybody stay on the same page and continue flowing and cooperating. The Tigers will need maximum defensive efficiency come Week 1 against No. 6 Washington.
"We don’t look at the logo," Thomas said. "We just focus on our game, and prepare the same ... it’s all about us, not who we play.”
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