AUBURN — It's too late to change the past now.
Still, Auburn’s Trovon Reed can’t help but ponder what could have been. Coming out of high school, he planned to play cornerback. That's why, Reed pointed out, he played cornerback during the 2010 Army All-American game. Once he got to Auburn, though, he was pegged as a receiver, playing there the last four seasons.
This spring, he finally got his wish: He would become cornerback. For Reed, it was a long time coming.
“That’s the story,” he said. “It is what it is.”
Working at the position during the spring helped as he entered Auburn's preseason camp. He tossed around the words “comfortable” and “confident” to describe his familiarity with the defense now. After battling a nagging hamstring in the middle of camp, though, Reed knows his limitations.
“I can’t do anything stupid that hurts me or my teammates, hurts the team, the Auburn family,” he said. “I’m just going to be smart.”
To a point, however. Sure, he knows he can't throw his body around with reckless abandon. But that doesn't mean he has to keep lips sealed.
In that vein, he's trying to emulate the player considered the best corner in the NFL.
“On things that aren't even supposed to get heated, they get heated,” Reed said of his on-field mind-set. “I’m running my mouth all the time. All of them call me Richard Sherman with the dreads and the 25 (jersey number). Before I can run it, they tried to shut (me) up and I handled that.”
He's also getting used to playing with a little less weight. At receiver, his peak weight was 195 pounds. Since shifting to defense, he has slimmed down to 188.
“I was doing a lot of blocking against those linebackers (when I was a receiver),” he said. “I wanted to lose a little bit so I could run with guys like Sammie (Coates). You've got to have your wheels to run along with that guy.”
And the player in question believes Reed is coming along well.
“He looks like a good corner,” Coates said. “He knows how to break on the ball. He's got good footwork, and he's got health, and he's looking good right now.”
Not quite good enough to be in the starting lineup — but he's close, settling in as one of the Tigers' top backups.
“He'll get some things on maybe a downfield ball (where) the receiver will box him out or possibly get on his back shoulder, do some little technical things. He's got to learn all those little things of how to take care of himself in those situations,” Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said. “But his skill set is really good, probably one of the faster kids on that side of the ball when they moved him. He's done a really good job.”
What will be the key for Reed this season?
Remembering to forget.
“Just put the play in the past. Corner is not like receiver — sometimes you’re going to be get beat. If you just sit on that, then you’ll be messed up for the rest of the game,” he said. “That’s what I had to learn going against guys like Sammie and Duke (Williams) and Quan (Bray). Those are some of the types of guys you see in the league. They prepare me for anybody we line up against.”
He has no idea how much he'll play this fall — much less his prospects of locking down a starting spot. All he could make is one guarantee: He'll be “in the mix.”
Reed refuses to become irrelevant.
“My pride is on the line,” he said. “The (family) — I can’t have them come all the way from Louisiana and I’m sitting on the bench, especially my senior year.”