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Irons brothers back up talk with solid play for No. 4 Auburn

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Aug 26, 12:01 AM EDT

Irons brothers back up talk with solid play for No. 4 Auburn


AP Sports Writer

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Kenny Irons is the friendly one, always smiling and even giving referees playful pats during games.

David Irons is the trash-talker who constantly jaws at opposing receivers - and his "ugly" brother, too.

Luckily for No. 4 Auburn, the chatterbox brothers do far more than just talk.

Kenny is an All-Southeastern Conference tailback whose dominant stretch run last season boosted Auburn's growing reputation as Tailback U. He's even drawing mention as a Heisman Trophy contender, but insists he's not letting it go to his head.

He prefers to be the humble brother.

"It's easy to be humble," Kenny said. "Being around David all the time, I let him do all the trash-talking and everything else. I just try to stay in the background. Now, I'm starting to steal some of his glory. I know he's kind of mad, but that's OK."

David is a preseason All-SEC cornerback granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing two seasons with knee injuries. He definitely hopes to grab a chunk of that glory - and a few interceptions.

"Defensive players don't stick out like that. You've got to do stuff like celebrate," David said. "After you make a tackle, you've got to talk trash, and that's what I do. I'm going to change it around."

The Irons brothers already have changed their careers around after rocky starts.

Kenny languished on South Carolina's bench in 2002 and 2003 before then-coach Lou Holtz granted him his release to transfer to another SEC school. He hardly seemed destined for stardom after gaining 34 yards in his first two games last season while Tre Smith started.

He won and lost the starting job before reclaiming it for good when Brad Lester was injured early in the Arkansas game. Kenny gained 400 yards in back-to-back road games against the Razorbacks and LSU, the start of a six-game tear with at least 100 yards.

Kenny wound up with a league-high 1,293 yards, and Auburn suddenly wasn't missing NFL first-round picks Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams quite so much.

He's as hard to bring down off the field as he is on it.

"Kenny Irons is probably the funniest guy I've ever met," receiver Courtney Taylor said. "He doesn't think he's better than anybody. He'll break a 70-yard run and I guarantee you he'll thank everybody on the field, then he'll probably walk to the sidelines and thank the coaches, too."

David Irons likes to talk to the coaches, too - opposing coaches. And their players. He can't help himself. It's as much a part of his game as covering and tackling.

"I've got to talk trash," he said. "I can't be out there not talking. I just try to get in their (opposing receivers') skin. When I get all in their skin, they mess up. They do all kind of crazy stuff. Last year against LSU, I was on Dwayne Bowe and I just got under him. And he didn't do too well."

Bowe, one of the league's top receivers, scored once in that game but also dropped what looked like a sure touchdown pass.

But it's not just about psyching out opponents. David talks trash and dances around on the field because it's fun.

"It's just having fun like you have as kids," he said. "I'm out on the field just dancing. You can see me talking trash. You can see me talking to the coaches: 'Y'all better get a new wide receiver in, because this guy isn't working today. He left his skills at home.'"

David missed the 2001 season at junior college with a knee injury. He was sidelined again in '04 with the Tigers.

He was pretty good when he finally got on the field for Auburn, ranking third in the SEC with 11 pass deflections. He'll turn 24 on Oct. 9, and considered turning pro after last season.

Now he's fantasizing about winning a national title and maybe landing two Irons on All-America teams.

"We dream about that," David said. "We feel like we're two of the best in the country right now."

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