Injured on the first defensive play for Auburn in the win over Samford, starting defensive end Davonte Lambert was helped off the field and did not return for the Tigers. Walking with the help of crutches after the game, Lambert is “probably out this week” according to Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. If that is the case it would mean some shuffling on what is becoming a thin defensive line.
“We’ve had Gabe (Wright) and Montravius (Adams) out there before and I’m sure they’ll have to be repped and be ready to go,” Johnson said. “Raashed Kennion came in the other night and got almost basically his baptism as far as getting to play some. Whether he’ll be up for this or not, I don’t know.
“If Pee Wee (Lambert) can’t go then we’ll probably have to probably double-work Gabe at tackle and at end,” he added. “We’ll have to be prepared for that rotation.”
Playing early before calling it a night because of a sore shoulder, Robenson Therezie is another defensive starter that the Tigers are hoping to get back to the full speed this week. Hoping to shore up the position with more experience Auburn moved former cornerback turned safety Josh Holsey to the ‘star’. One of the most versatile players on defense for the Tigers, the move of Holsey could pay dividends down the road with true freshman Nick Ruffin the only other option at the spot.
“I think Coach (Charlie) Harbison just out of a measure of trying to keep Therezie healthy moving forward and Josh getting even more work at it so we’ll have that option when we have to,” Johnson said. “Toward the end I think Nick got some plays too but Josh played the bulk of the game and that was good for us to have something in the future, to have some rotation there. Hopefully we’ll have a good healthy week with Therezie this week and get him ready to go.”
Duke And Ric
Still out because of a knee injury, Duke Williams has returned to Auburn’s practices and could be available this weekend. The same is true of Ricardo Louis, who was held out of the Samford game with a minor injury. While he won’t say with absolute certainty that his leading receiver will be back, Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said he’s hopeful.
“He's still day-to-day,” Lashlee said. “We're optimistic. He's getting better. The guys we held, we felt like it was the right decision, and we feel like it's going to increase their chances of playing this week. We'll just know when we get out there tomorrow and get after it and see where they're at. But we're always optimistic our guys are going to be ready to go.”
Without Duke on the field the Auburn offense has struggled more in the last two weeks than at any time in the 2014 season. Even though Nick Marshall has plenty of weapons on the outside to utilize in the passing game, Williams does more for an offense than just catch passes said Lashlee.
“Well, it changes things a lot when you've got guys like him or even Ricardo and those guys out there because it takes people away,” Lashlee said. “They did a good job of doubling Sammie (Coates) last night and taking some other things away. I thought Quan (Bray) stepped up and did some good things. But the more weapons you have, the more honest the defense has to play you. We want to be full strength, and we're optimistic we will be.”
A player that had to step up in the absence of Williams and Louis was senior wide receiver Quan Bray. Putting together a very good season, becoming the first Auburn player ever to score a touchdown rushing, receiving and on a punt return in the same season, Bray agreed with Lashlee saying getting Duke back would be huge for the Tigers.
“It opens it more for everybody, because he tends to make big plays when big plays are needed,” Bray said. “Once he went down we had to step up and make plays, but if he comes back, then that'll be a great thing.”