Injuries Piling Up For Tigers

A report on Auburn's Wednesday night practice includes injury updates on multiple Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn continued installing the game plan for this weekend's road trip to Arkansas and the two-hour session went well, according to Gene Chizik, who had mixed news on his team's injury situation.

Auburn's head football coach said, "I feel like we are continuing to improve. This will be a great test for us. This is a really, really good (Arkansas) football team as we all know.

"Practice has gone really well this week and we have got to continue to maintain a level of focus on Thursday and Friday and give ourselves a chance to win," Chizik said. "I feel like we made some progress this week again in some areas."

Auburn's top receiver, Emory Blake, did not practice again on Wednesday night and is doubtful for the Arkansas game, Chizik said.

Emory Blake has four touchdown catches this season as a junior.

Starting cornerback Chris Davis, who did not make the road trip to South Carolina last week, is practicing some and may have a chance to play against the Razorbacks as he tries to recover from an ankle injury. Jonathon Mincy made his first college start vs. South Carolina filling in for Davis.

"He has practiced some," Chizik said of Davis. "We are going to keep treating him and keep bringing him up to game time and see where he is at."

Another player, fourth string running back Anthony Gulley-Morgan, suffered an off-the-field, non-practice injury and could be lost for the season, according to Chizik, who didn't discuss details of what happened to the junior who made a move from defense to offense this year.

Cornerbacks coach Phillip Lolley said after Wednesday night's practice that the Auburn pass coverage will be tested often this week by the Arkansas offense that leads the SEC in total yardage and points scored. "I see four or five guys who are NFL type receivers," Lolley said. "It is going to be a tremendous challenge."

Lolley said the Tigers did some good things in the secondary against South Carolina in a 16-13 victory on Saturday, but need to continue to improve. "We know the talent level is picking up this week and there is no time to rest on what we just did because these guys can really play," the coach said.

Unlike playing South Carolina, a game in which the Tigers could focus on stopping a couple of receivers, the Arkansas group featuring Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, Cobi Hamilton, Greg Childs, Chris Gregg, Marquel Wade, Julian Horton and Jervontee Herndon is full of guys who can make big plays.

Jarius Wright set a school record for receiving yards last Saturday as he caught 13 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns vs. Texas A&M.

"The quarterback (Tyler Wilson) is having a great year so it is going to be interesting," Lolley pointed out. "We all know that Bobby Petrino is going to mix it up. He is going to get the run going and that is one of his big deals. I have coached with him and against him, and that is one of his big deals. We understand that. He is going to try to keep you off balance and his guys are really good."

In other news and notes:

*Auburn has won 11 consecutive SEC games going into Saturday's contest against the Razorbacks, who ae 0-1 in SEC play this season with a road loss at Alabama.

*Sophomore Michael Dyer, who was a high school star in Little Rock where he set the Arkansas State record for career rushing yardage by a high school athlete, will play for the first time in his home state as a collegian with a ranking of 18th nationally of 113.4 rushing yards per contest. In last year's game vs. the Razorbacks, Dyer scored on a 38-yard run in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with six carries for 53 yards.

*With their 510 yards passing last Saturday in a 42-38 comeback victory over Texas A&M, the Razorbacks had the most passing yardage of any SEC team so far this season. Only three other teams in the country have passed for more yardage in a single game this season.

*In the victory over Texas A&M, Arkansas produced 19 first downs on passing plays to tie a school record.

*Coming into the Auburn game, Arkansas has a streak of 22 consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass.

*Auburn, which is ranked 15th in the AP poll and 23rd in the coaches poll this week, leads the series vs. Arkansas 11-8-1 and has a record of 5-3 in games played at Reynolds-Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

*Arkansas, which is 10th in the AP poll and 12th in the coaches poll, has a 1-1 record against Auburn teams coached by Chizik. Two years ago in Fayetteville the Razorbacks won 44-23. Last season the Tigers won 65-43 at Jordan-Hare Stadium after tying the school record for points in the fourth quarter with 28.

*In the preseason Auburn's schedule looked demanding and that has been the case. Of the 12 games on Auburn's regular season schedule, half are ranked in this week's AP Top 25 with Arkansas, Alabama and LSU in the Top 10.

*Defensive coordinator Ted Roof said he wanted to see more forced turnovers by the Tigers and the team has made major progress on that front with a total of seven in the past two games compared to a total of only two for the first three games. Safeties Neiko Thorpe and Demetruce McNeal have led the charge with interceptions each of the last two games.

*Defensive line coach MIke Pelton had praise after Wednesday's practice for redshirt freshman end LaDarius Owens, who he said has come on strong in practices and the past two games.

*Saturday's game at Reynolds-Razorback Stadium is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. CDT with TV coverage by ESPN. The Auburn Radio Network's coverage will be on Sirius and XM channels 91 in addition to the regular network of 50-plus stations.

*Brad Nessler will do the play-by-play for ESPN with Todd Blackledge the analyst and Holly Rowe the sideline reporter.

Gene Chizik on video:

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