October 23, 2012

NOTEBOOK: Monster in the middle

AUBURN -- Cassanova McKinzy's first college start wasn't a thing of beauty last weekend.

That doesn't mean Brian VanGorder wasn't impressed.

Auburn's defensive coordinator said Thursday that the freshman, now the team's top choice at middle linebacker, made several errors that directly benefitted Vanderbilt. Still, McKinzy also drew praise for playing with an aggressive attitude that undermined the Commodores at times.

"He competed through the game and that was important for me to see because the toughness part of his game is extremely important -- both mentally and physically," VanGorder said. "He held up in that area and that's important. And, of course, you saw physical traits show up on a couple of plays where he was able to make plays that a lot of guys just can't."

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