AUBURN | The time has flown by for Stephen Roberts.
Just three years and five months ago, Roberts flipped his commitment from Alabama to Auburn in the days before the 2013 Iron Bowl and one of the greatest finishes in college football history.
Now, Roberts is preparing for his senior year as a returning starter at safety.
“Old, I feel old,” Roberts joked. “It happened so fast, quicker than I thought.”
Roberts enters his senior season with 12 starts in 37 career games and the determination to finish his Auburn career on a high note.
He finished fifth on the team with 57 tackles last season, and added 1.5 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and two pass breakups. He also returned six punts for 100 yards including a 58-yarder in the Iron Bowl.
“My goals come this season is just to be studying more on my film and knowing the offense and what they're trying to do when they get in this formation. Just be on top of things and knowing my job as well,” Roberts said.
The Tigers return eight starters on defense and a number of veteran players including two other seniors at safety in Tray Matthews and Nick Ruffin.
Like many of his teammates, Roberts believes this year’s defense can be better than the unit that finished fourth in the SEC allowing 17.1 points per game last fall.
“I think we improved a whole lot from the beginning of the spring,” Roberts said. “Everybody was coming in and watching film and just doing their job. That made it easier for everybody in the spring. That was a big improvement.”
Roberts is also excited about the improvement the offense made this spring under new coordinator Chip Lindsey and transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham, although he’s quick to add that all those passing yards in the A-Day game didn’t come against the first-team defense.
“They threw it pretty well. They don't throw on us,” Roberts said. “They had some great catches and great throws by Jarrett.”