AUBURN, Ala. — Josh Holsey will be a do-it-all player in Auburn’s secondary this season.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior broke the two-deep depth chart at two positions — cornerback and nickel. Once cornerback Jamel Dean went down with an injury in fall camp, Holsey’s name surfaced every time coaches or teammates were asked about who might step in to fill that void.
Holsey met with the media earlier this week, and here’s a question-and-answer session with him. He had a lot of fun, with a big smile on his face, in front of the cameras this week.
You’re listed at multiple positions on the depth chart, but what position have you seen the most time at? Where should we expect to see you most?
“Defensive back (laughing). I really possibly don’t know. Wherever I get put at is probably what I’m going to do. I have no clue. I have no answer for you, so defensive back.”
How tough is it to prepare for multiple positions in the secondary?
“It’s not really hard anymore since I’ve been doing it since like sophomore year. It’s kind of easy. I kind of like the challenge. Just lets my coaches know that I could jump into wherever they need me to. It’s pretty easy when you know the defense. It’s not too much harder to go to one position or jump to another position. It’s all the same to me right now.”
Deshaun Watson is a major running threat to go along with his capable passing ability. What kind of challenge does that present for defensive backs?
“It makes it a lot harder. As a defensive back, you really don’t like covering receivers for seven, eight seconds because it’s kind of unrealistic sometimes. But when you’ve got a great pass rush like we got with Mon(travius Adams) and Carl Lawson and Jeff (Holland) and all those guys and Byron (Cowart), it kind of help makes our job a little bit easier, because we know he can’t just stand back there and pat the ball for too long. With a great rush and a great — you know what I mean — that kind of helps us not have to cover for seven or eight seconds. But if it does happen, you just have to continue to play. When he scrambles, you’ve just got to, you’ve got to stay with your man. You’ve got to plaster with your man. If you’re in zone, you’ve got to find somebody to plaster to so he don’t have an easy throw down the field while he’s scrambling, because that’s probably when he’s at his best, when he’s outside of the pocket.”
Despite coming off injury, do you still think you’re one of the fastest players on the team?
“Oh yeah. I’m still top 3 on the team. I’m still top 3. I’m still top 3. If I had run the 40 this spring, I would have ran a low 4.3.”
In that case: who’s faster?
“Rudy Ford. Javaris Davis. They’re pretty fast. They’re pretty fast.”
With the opener against the No. 2 team in the country — one of the best offenses in the nation — does that add some fuel to the fire for the defense to come out and prove itself immediately?
“Oh yeah. I think this game right here is perfect. The way how it’s set up is perfect for us to come out and show what we’ve been working for all summer. Our motto this year is ‘Earn It’ and we feel like we have to earn everything that we’re going to get this year. Starting with Clemson is going to be a good game for us to go out there and earn all the respect that we need to get back. We felt like we didn’t do as well as we should have last year. … As a team we have a lot of team meetings with a lot of coaches to tell everybody that this year is the year that we’re going to get back to doing what we do best — playing Auburn football and playing hard-nosed defense and putting up a lot of points on people. So, that’s what our motto is this year — to go out there and earn it. And it starts Saturday to go out there and earn it and get a victory.”
Coming of the injury, being your senior season, how ready are you for it to be Saturday already?
“Ever since I first got injured I kinda look forward to every game — just making it to the game, you know what I mean? Because you never know when your last play is going to be. So, I’m really looking forward to this year, though, because I know if I get hurt now, I can’t come back again, you know what I mean? I’m really looking forward to each and every game. Especially this game because it’s a big one. There are a lot of people that are going to be watching, so I can really showcase what we’ve been working for and what I’ve been working for to come back, even off a second ACL. I’m very eager and I’ve been smiling since the time started clicking. I’m ready to play.”