AUBURN, Alabama–There aren’t too many positives regarding a 21-day layoff from competition in the heart of a football season, but for the Auburn secondary, and one of its key performers, there was an upside.
After being injured in Auburn’s 48-11 victory over LSU on Halloween, Jamien Sherwood used the time off from games for rehab. “I have had this ankle injury,” the junior said after contributing to Auburn’s 30-17 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers.
“It started the first game against Kentucky and then it has just been nagging like throughout the past games we have had,” he pointed out. “People might fall on me or something, but it’s by accident.
“Over this break we have had the bye week and then our game being postponed (vs. Mississippi State),” he said. “That was a great time for me to go to treatment.
“We have the best trainer and staff in the country so they helped me out a lot and then (Saturday) morning I got a good stretch in and did some good work on my ankles and I felt great, and felt like I played at a high level–played pretty fast. It just felt great to be back out there with my teammates.”
Sherwood finished the game with six solo tackles and two assists, which was the second highest total of any player in the Tigers vs. Vols matchup. Auburn sophomore linebacker Owen Pappoe was the leader with seven solo tackles and five assists.
Pappoe’s quarterback pressure of Jarrett Guarantano set up the key play of the game when Sherwood’s fellow starting safety, Smoke Monday, returned an interception 100 yards in the third quarter to increase Auburn’s lead to 20-10.
“I forgot what the call is, but I am at the line of scrimmage, looking at the quarterback and he throws it in the end zone and I turn around and he has got the ball in his hands. You know we are big on ball production and we wanted a pick. We shouldn’t leave any game without a pick.
“When I saw it in his hands the first thing was get to the end zone,” Sherwood said. “He started running, I caught up to him, tried to throw a block for him and I got in the way and almost knocked him over. Thank God I didn’t, but he made a great play and I just couldn’t be happier for him.”
Sherwood, who also contributed by making one of his team’s four quarterback sacks vs. the Vols, said he and his teammates are always looking for ways to put points on the scoreboard. “Definitely, we want to score on defense. You don’t always have to put the ball in the offense’s hands. It was a close game at one point, but at the end of the day defense can score, too.”
Next on the schedule for the Tigers is unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Alabama. That contest is set for 2:30 p.m. CST at Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a fun and exciting game,” Sherwood said. “You know it’s going to be physical. It’s the best rivalry in college football so you know they are going to come out with all their game plans, shots you know they are going put on. It’s a home game for them so the they are going try and play their best ball in front of their fans.
“They are going to try and embarrass us, but we are just going to do our normal stuff,” added Sherwood, who is Auburn’s third leading tackler for the season with 31 solo stops and 20 assists. “We are going to play ball, have a great week of practice this week and we are just going to do what we normally do.”
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