April 12, 2013

NOTEBOOK: Finding 'stars' is no simple task

AUBURN | Life as a 'star' safety isn't for everyone.

Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said Friday that rising sophomore Javiere Mitchell's recent move from 'star' to outside linebacker is more or less permanent. The player shifted to fill that vacancy, sophomore Robenson Therezie, has followed a perfectly dissimilar period of acclimation at his new position.

"He seems more comfortable up near the line of scrimmage. I don't know what it is," Johnson said. "A lot of times you see kids walk into the door and you say, 'Man, that's a good looking linebacker,' but they can't play. We move (Therezie) up to Star and all of a sudden we're blitzing him off the edge and he's covering underneath instead of deep zones. The things you see with your eyes, the techniques, the reads and reactions, are different. You like to have a 6-1, 215-pound star but right now he fits it perfect and I've really been tickled to death with his progress."

Rising junior Justin Garrett, who played sparingly during his two years with the varsity, has been a revelation at the spot Johnson uses as a safety-linebacker hybrid. Still, he can't play every snap.

Also, Johnson likes to use two 'stars' in his dime package to utilize man coverage against four-wideout sets. Therezie, who is listed at 5-foot-9 and 202 pounds, clearly will have a meaningful workload at his new spot even if Garrett performs as well as expected this fall.

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