August 27, 2008

Freshman safety ready for action

Mike Slade can already feel the butterflies.

Auburn's backup safety is just days away from playing in his first college football game and he can't wait.

"Just to play at Auburn -- I'm really excited," Slade said. "The fans, everything -- I'm really excited. I don't know what to do.

"I'm nervous, man."

A redshirt freshman, Slade worked at cornerback last fall before making the move to safety in the spring. His steady improvement has caught the eye of his coaches and teammates.

"I think Mike is really improved," AU head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "He's going to see a lot of playing time."

"He's improved a whole lot," safety Zac Etheridge said. "He's started making a lot of plays on the ball. He's starting to play full speed."

Etheridge, who is the starter ahead of Slade at free safety, gave the youngster some good advice heading into Saturday's opening game against Louisiana-Monroe.

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