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Auburn cornerback Chris Davis (11), Auburn linebacker LaDarius Owens (10), Auburn defensive back Ryan Smith (24) and Auburn defensive back Jonathan Jones (3) during the second quarter Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. (Julie Bennett/jbennett@al.com)

-- After a rash of injuries that hit the defense repeatedly through the first six games of the season, Auburn's defense has come out of it relatively healthy heading into the Iron Bowl.
And the Tigers will benefit from one of the nation's latest bye weeks.
Auburn's defense has some players battling the nagging injuries that accrue over the course of the season -- defensive end Dee Ford bruised a bone on the outside of his knee -- but the extra week gives them some time to refresh.
"We don't have what I'd say are serious injuries," defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said. "We've got a lot of guys that are tired, beat up, typical 12th-13th week of the season. So this is really going to help us. I hope that 48 hours they get over the weekend will really regenerate us a little bit."
Ford and linebacker Kris Frost, who briefly injured a right shoulder he originally hurt against Tennessee, both returned to the game after going down briefly against Georgia.
Early in the season, Auburn's defense had trouble keeping its impact players on the field. Ford missed two games, Chris Davis missed two games and several other players missed time with injuries.
As the second half of the season wore on, Auburn has still faced injuries, but the Tigers have been able to avoid anything serious.
Beyond Holsey, many of the players Auburn's defense lost for the season suffered injuries before the season got fully underway. Both defensive tackleJeff Whitaker,defensive endKeymiya Harrelland
"Overall, since the really unfortunate thing that happened to Josh Holsey," Johnson said. "we really have not had anything happen since then."

AL.com coverage | 2013 Auburn Joel A. Erickson stories, opinion, news
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