Tigers Start The Hitting As the Pads Go On

An in-depth report on the first Auburn full pads football practice is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Reggie Torbor, a fifth-year senior who is a veteran of Auburn preseason football practices, said it was fun to put the pads on and get after the offense for a couple of hours on Sunday evening.

"It went pretty good," Torbor noted. "We had a little brawl out there. It was good to see some spirit and enthusiasm. The thing that surprised me today was that the young guys were really moving around out there and being aggressive. They didn't have the first day jitters like I thought they would. It might be because they didn't have the separate freshmen only practices last week. They made mistakes, but the effort was there."

The Tigers began practice in shorts and helmets on Wednesday and have worked out one time a day since then. On Monday the Tigers will have their first two-a-days session with an 8:30 a.m. session in shorts at the football complex on the new artificial turf field. The Tigers will hit the intramural fields at 4:30 p.m. for a full pads practice.

Ronnie Brown (23) and Reggie Torbor (82) wrap up during the brief scuffle between the offense and defense.

Something else that caught the senior defensive end's eye was the improved depth at his own position and at defensive tackle, too. "Our depth is pretty good and competition for playing time is better," Torbor pointed out. "When there is so much competition you have to always do your job because there is somebody there ready to take your job."

Torbor and his Tigers got a break from the weatherman on Sunday with an unseasonably cool afternoon that kept the Tigers from having heat problems which is normally the case this time a year. "I am enjoying this nice cool weather, but I am sure we will get our heat before too long."

The high humidity from Saturday's practice did take a toll when first string offensive guard Monreko Crittenden dropped 15 pounds in one session. Because of that, he was held out of Sunday's practice as a precautionary measure.

The Tigers were missing another offensive lineman. Taylor Bourgeois, who can play tackle, guard or center, was having scar tissue broken up on Sunday that was left over from surgery he endured last fall. That opened the door for true freshman Jarrod Britt to get a look with the first team offense. A player who has been on campus working out since May, he showed his scrappiness by getting in a tussle with Torbor and he generally handled himself well on Sunday.

Britt, who is from McEachern High in Georgia, said, "The difference between high school and college is just the mind games," Britt said. "It is a lot smarter, a lot harder and a lot faster. But I couldn't do it without Danny Lindsey and the rest of the guys.

"It is important to me to work with Coach (Hugh) Nall and I am so glad I have the leadership that will help me and out and take care of me such as Marcus (McNeill) and Monreko (Crittenden), Danny (Lindsey) and Mark (Pera). They care of you. Everything we do is as a family around here."

Commenting on Bourgeois, Tuberville noted, "They said it was going to get sore after the first few days. He hasn't hit on it in a year. We will take him to get evaluated by Dr. Andrews, but there shouldn't be anything to it."

The Tigers now have five practices in the books as they prepare for their August 30th opener vs. Southern Cal. "We worked on every phase but short yardage," Tuberville said. "We are a lot farther along than we were this time last year than we were in two-a-days even though we didn't have two-a-days. We made a lot of mistakes and we have a long way to go in certain areas. Bourgeois is out. He just nicked his shoulder a little bit and a couple of other guys."

With Brandon Johnson sidelined with a virus-like illness, Jake Slaughter (44) got in plenty of work at fullback on Sunday. Ronnie Brown is running the football on the play.

Tuberville said he was surprised by the turnout of "about a 1,000 people" watching the practice at the intramural fields. He noted that overall the Tigers got some things accomplished.

"I tried to watch the quarterbacks a little bit more today, but the thing that keeps catching my eye is our defensive line," he said. "We are so much quicker than we have been. It is good that we have got a lot more depth. Our offensive line doesn't have quite the depth and they are trying to hang on because they are going more reps than the defensive line."

Tuberville said there is no change in the pecking order at quarterback where Jason Campbell is backed up by Josh Sullivan, who saw the action with the second team in 11 on 11 work while Brandon Cox watched from the sidelines. "They are competing well," Tuberville said. Josh is so much farther ahead than Brandon it is going to take while for Brandon to get his turns in, make the throws and see what he can do. Obviously, right now Josh will be second and Brandon is going to be third and we are just looking at the other two."

In other news from Sunday's practice:

*The first string secondary featured Carlos Rogers and Junior Rosegreen at the corners with Roshard Gilyard and Donnay Young at the safeties. Rosegreen intercepted a sideline route thrown by Campbell to Devin Aromashodu.

*Third string center Will Ward saw action at guard in the 11 on 11 part of practice with Crittenden and Bourgeois unavailable.

*Linebacker Kevis Burnam is expected back at practice soon, Tuberville said. He twisted his knee in non-contact work last week.

*Another linebacker, starter Dontarrious Thomas, was dressed but not allowed to practice while he recovers from a hamstring problem.

*Reserve defensive end Kyle Derozan left practice early with what appeared to be a knee injury on a pass play in which Tre Smith caught a Sullivan screen pass and it took it the distance with a tight-rope run down the sideline.

*Campbell and redshirt freshman wide receiver Courtney Taylor hit a long bomb for a touchdown over cornerback Rogers.

*All five tailbacks, including freshman Carl Stewart, got praise from the offensive coaches for their hard-running in the 11 on 11 drills.

*Defensive tackle Spencer Johnson, offensive tackle Pera and offensive tackle McNeill stood out in the one-on-one drills on Sunday as did defensive tackle Ben Grubbs.


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