Monday Morning QB Column: Big Week Ahead

Several Auburn teams had big weeks last week, but there is another important week ahead on the Auburn campus.

Jonathon Mincy (above) will be working out for NFL scouts on Tuesday.

Important Week For Football Players

This week is showtime for the majority of Auburn’s football players hoping to get a shot to play in the NFL this year. While several guys got an opportunity to show what they could do at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday will be the chance for players such as LaDarius Owens, Chad Slade, C.J. Uzomah, Jonathon Mincy and others to do a combine-style workout for pro scouts.

Mincy is a player I am especially intrigued to see how he performs. After being less than full speed for much of his senior season, the cornerback has the skills to make an NFL roster down the road, but first he needs to have a good showing. I think he is capable of running in the 4.4 to 4.5 range in the 40, and if he does that he will definitely be on the radar for teams in the coming weeks when individual workouts take place.

The same is true of LaDarius Owens. Never truly finding a home for the Tigers after moving from defensive end to linebacker and back to defensive end, Owens has the physical skills to impress scouts. Around 260 pounds, he could easily run in the 4.7 range on a good day. If that day happens to be on Tuesday for Auburn’s Pro Day, Owens could be a player teams start to watch more as a potential outside linebacker on the next level.

LaDarius Owens started 14 games for the Tigers and played in 44.

One of the players who has the most to gain on Tuesday is offensive tackle Patrick Miller. Deciding to leave school early, Miller has the tools to be successful, but first he has to show that ability to the scouts. Always undersized, but athletic for an offensive lineman, Miller needs to show he can play at around 300 pounds and he has had three months to add the extra weight needed. If he can check in anywhere above 295 pounds and still move like he did at a lower weight, Miller may get some looks late in the draft.

Building A Program

It is hard to find a more impressive AU gymnastics season than the one Coach Jeff Graba and the his team is having right now. The Tigers are coming off a strong home meet win over the Georgia Bulldogs on Friday in front of a record gymnastics Auburn Arena sellout crowd of 7,424 fans. It wasn’t the only school record for the Tigers however, as they also broke the school record with a score of 197.750.

The win over Georgia was just the fourth in program history vs. the Gym Dogs in 80 meetings, but more importantly it keeps Auburn in very good position nationally heading into this week’s meets at Kentucky on Friday night and against Alabama on Sunday at Legacy Arena in Birmingham. Knocking off one big rival last week, the Tigers are gunning to knock off the Crimson Tide and this could be the time.

Leading The Pack

Sophomore leadoff man Anfernee Grier looks to be living up to advance billing this season after being rated as one of the top players in Alabama coming out of Russell County High two years ago. After battling through his freshman adjustment to college ball, a position change and injuries his first year, Grier is tearing it up for the 9-3 Tigers after hitting .500 (9-18) in four games last week with three doubles, three RBI and six runs scored.

For the year the center fielder is batting .489, has eight doubles and an on-base percentage of .579. This week he and the Tigers try to win for the sixth time in seven tries against Alabama in the Capital City Classic in Montgomery on Tuesday night.

Big Bopper

As good as Grier has been so far this season for the baseball Tigers, it doesn’t match the start for several of Coach Clint Myers’ softball sluggers. While Tiffany Howard’s .559 average and .645 on-base percentage in the 21-1 start is pretty remarkable, what Emily Carosone is doing is just jaw-dropping.

Emily Carosone earned All-America honors as a sophomore second baseman.

Hitting .481, Carosone is tied for the team lead with seven home runs, leads the team with 30 RBI, 33 runs scored and 52 total bases for a team hitting .398 as a group with 45 home runs in 22 games.

This is a big week for the Tigers, who will face their toughest competition so far this season when they make a trip to California to play good competition, including the Arizona State Sun Devils, the team Myers left to take over the Auburn program.

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