Auburn Football Practice News, Notes, Quotes

Comments from the football Tigers are featured as they prepare for their season opener.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said the Tigers are still working on coming up with the starting five up front for the season opener vs. Utah State.

Senior A.J. Greene, who opened the 2010 season as the starting right tackle, has made a move in practice in the last few sessions after coming back from an injury. He has a chance to start at either left tackle or right tackle.

Grimes said it will be a major upset if anybody bumps senior tackle Brandon Mosley out of the starting lineup. He took over for Greene as the starter last year when Greene was injured in game three vs. Clemson. Mosley can play either left or right tackle.

Another possibility to start at tackle is redshirt freshman Chad Slade, who last year worked at guard and tackle, but is playing tackle full-time this preseason. He has spent a good bit of time working with the ones at right tackle.

At center freshman Reese Dismukes is a strong candidate to start ahead of redshirt sophomore Blake Burgess, who is also getting practice time at guard. Grimes said that Burgess is smart enough to handle both spots, but currently has a better understanding of his assignments at center.

Senior Jared Cooper is the favorite at left guard and junior John Sullen is a possible starter at right guard. However, a pair of true freshmen, guard Christian Westerman and tackle Greg Robinson, have been pushing for playing time.

Grimes said the starting lineup in the opener may not be the starting lineup later in the season.

In other news and notes from Tuesday's practice:

*Freshman Brandon Fulse is doing a "phenomenal job" at tight end/H-back in practice, according to Jay Boulware, who coaches that position. "He is everything we hoped he would be and better," the coach said. "We are really pleased with his progression. We need another guy we can count on."

Brandon Fulse

*Boulware, who is in charge of the special teams, said he wants to see more consistency from sophomores Cody Parkey and Steven Clark. Parkey has been on target with his field goals in recent practices and Clark is showing signs of improvement with his punting. Clark is known for a strong leg, but has had a tendency to shank punts.

Boulware noted that Parkey has been kicking the ball better at the practice fields than in the stadium until recently, which is something the sophomore has been working on figuring out. The configuration of Jordan-Hare Stadium can cause swirling winds that can bother some kickers. "The last few days he has made all of his kicks," Boulware said. "That is what we look for. We want to be 100 percent every day."

*Trooper Taylor said that he has seven wide receivers who he can count on to win a game. The group includes Emory Blake, DeAngelo Benton, Trovon Reed, Travante Stallworth, Quindarius Carr, Jaylon Denson and C.J. Uzomah.

*Freshman receiver Quan Bray is still working on his assignments and needs to take care of that before Taylor will be ready to play him, the coach said. However, Taylor added that Bray still has time to get ready to play vs. Utah State.

*On the subject of Stallworth, Taylor said the junior is a smart receiver who doesn't make mistakes. Taylor said Stallworth reminds him of 2010 senior Kodi Burns. Both players were high school quarterbacks who moved to receiver in college. Stallworth has made major progress recovering from his 2009 knee injury and is excited about the opportunity to play.

Stallworth said after he practice he is also excited his dad has returned from Iraq to Fort Stewart, Ga., and will get to see him play this year.


*Uzomah, a 6-5, 230 wideout, is making the conversion from quarterback in high school. Taylor said he likes what he is seeing from the freshman who is doing a good job with his assignments.

*Boulware wouldn't say who the number one punt returner will be, but noted that wide receivers Carr, Reed and Bray are getting the reps at that position. "

Boulware said he believes the Tigers have made strides at catching punts, which has been an issue at times the past two years. "Where we are really poor is having a guy who can do something with it after the catch," he said. He added, "Now we are getting to the point where we feel, ‘hey, we have got to take that next step and get somebody who can advance that ball up the field.'"

*Defensive line coach Mike Pelton said that the likely first stringers, true sophomores Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter, are still works in progress. He said it will take a group effort to get the job done at tackle this season and noted that the Tigers could use six players at tackle with junior Jamar Travis and true freshmen Angelo Blackson, Devaunte Sigler and Gabe Wright likely to play.

"There is still some work we have to do with those young guys," said Pelton, who kept the defensive linemen after practice for some extra drills on Tuesday night.

The coach had praise for the oldest in the group. "Jamar Travis has done a great job in this camp," Pelton said. "That kid has worked hard and he has been kind of behind the eight ball a bit. Nobody really talks about him. Nobody really mentions him when they talk about the depth chart.

"He has kind of put a chip on his shoulder and really worked himself into a position to help this football team in some capacity," Pelton said.

Jamar Travis

Another player Pelton singled out for praise is Sigler from Mobile, who played linebacker last season in Mobile. However, the freshman has had a growth spurt and is approaching 6-4, 270 pounds. Right now he is working exclusively as a defensive tackle.

Pelton knows a lot about moving from linebacker in high school to the defensive line in college, something he did himself at Auburn. "It is going to be interesting to see how he reacts," Pelton said.

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