August 16, 2009

Freshman safety turning heads

Auburn's offensive explosion during Saturday's scrimmage left few bright spots for the defense.

Safety Daren Bates' performance proved to be one of the exceptions.

For a second consecutive scrimmage, Bates turned heads with his aggressive, play-making style. Safeties coach Tommy Thigpen said Bates had both an interception and a forced fumble during the first scrimmage.

He might not have created any takeaways on Saturday, but the true freshman is catching the attention of his coaching staff.

"I saw Bates throwing his body around," defensive coordinator Ted Roof said following the second scrimmage. "That was good to see. He strikes people. He's showing up and doing some good things."

Bates knew he needed to make up ground when he first got to Auburn. He missed the first three practices while awaiting approval from the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Just eight practices into his collegiate career, Bates has done enough to earn some time with the starters on defense.

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