August 20, 2008

Auburn becomes a hard hat defense

Auburn's defense had a blue collar reputation long before Paul Rhoads arrived on the Plains.

For years, the Tigers have put together strong defenses, often with undersized players or recruits that nobody else wanted. But Rhoads wanted to create a symbol that represented the work ethic that he felt embodied AU's defensive tradition.

So the first-year defensive coordinator turned to a universal symbol for blue-collar workers: the hard hat.

"The hard hat is certainly a symbol of hard work and going to work every day," said Rhoads. "We want to remind our kids that's who we are and that's what we do. We're blue collar people and we're blue collar football players.

"We take our hard hats and we go to work every day. The hats symbolize that and hopefully keeps it fresh in their mind every day as we get up and go to work."

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