With defensive starters Reggie Torbor, Demarco McNeil, Spencer Johnson, Dontarrious Thomas, Karlos Dansby and Travis Williams all watching from the sidelines, the first team offense got the best of the defense behind the play of Jason Campbell.
Running the show, Campbell moved the offense down the field twice before giving way to the second team. In the first series the unit faced a second down when Carnell Williams took a handoff from Campbell and got to the corner. Outrunning Junior Rosegreen, he took off upfield and gained 60 yards before being cut off by Donnay Young.
The run was a sign of things to come for the running game as all of the running backs had solid days. Particularly good was fifth teamer Carl Stewart. Showing a fearless attitude, he drove the pile several times and broke tackles to get into the secondary. Coach Tommy Tuberville said overall he was pleased with the scrimmage and in particular the offense.
"It was more situational," Tuberville said of the scrimmage. "We wanted to get most of the younger guys in there to get them prepared for Saturday. We didn't want to go out and look totally inept with organization. Most of that was organization and get a lot of the young guys in and playing. Saturday will be a day where we will double or triple the amount of plays we went today.
"I thought the offense did much better in the scrimmage than the defense, the first team ran the ball well," Tuberville added. "We got the ball downfield and the receivers caught the ball. It looked like our concentration was a lot better."
Carnell Williams had a big day despite very little action.
Tuberville said he was pleased with the way Campbell threw the ball down the field in Wednesday's scrimmage. One of those plays came on a third and long situation when he found Courtney Taylor over the middle for a big gain and first down yardage. Taking a lick from Rosegreen, Taylor showed that he's ready to be one of Campbell's go-to guys this fall.
Defensively the focus was on learning and getting in the right places. With mostly inexperienced players on the field working sometimes against the starting offense, the unit looked out of place at times, but competed very hard. One of the most noticeable of those players was defensive tackle Tim Duckworth.
Forced to sit out nearly two full years while waiting to become qualified, Duckworth had lived and breathed Auburn by moving to town and working on his own to remain on the Plains. Finally able to suit up, Duckworth has shaken off the rust quickly and made several big plays in the offensive backfield Wednesday. The biggest came when he unloaded on tailback Brandon Jacobs at the line of scrimmage and sent the big runner to his back. Tuberville said it was nice to see him in action after waiting so long.
"Tim has been out of football for two years," Tuberville said. "He's really fun to be around. He's going to have some battles out here against some of these offensive linemen. He and Jarrod Britt are going to go head to head over the years. It's going to be fun to watch it."
Jason Campbell was sharp with his passing at Wednesday's practice.
Josh Sullivan continued his strong play in the fall with several nice throws over the middle to Justin Fetsko against the second team defense. His biggest pass of the day came on a crossing route to Obomanu. Catching the pass, Obomanu outran defenders to the sideline and turned the ball upfield for a gain of nearly 40 yards.
When the third teamers hit the field it was time for the defense to take over. Ends Quentin Groves and Stanley McClover combined to total three sacks late in the scrimmage with Groves having two in one series on Kelcy Luke. In the secondary Lamel Ages looked good while working with both the first and second team defensive units.
The kicking game continued to get a long look with the punt teams working before the scrimmage on protection and returns. Kody Bliss had another strong day along with Michael Gibson, who has improved by leaps and bounds since spring practice. Both look like legitimate threats to win the job at this point.
In the field goal department it was Philip Yost that once again had a big day. Going 4-of-6 on the day, including a 50-yarder at the end of the scrimmage to keep the team from running, the junior from Auburn appears much smoother on his follow through and is getting the proper lift he needs to be successful. True freshman John Vaughn also kicked well, nailing four attempts inside 35 yards, but missing two from a further distance.
Run of the Day
Without a doubt Williams' 60-yard gallop stole the show and caused the sizeable practice crowd to cheer the loudest of the day. He showed his trademark burst to the corner and turned the speed on downfield.
Catch of the Day
Courney Taylor's grab of a Jason Campbell throw over the middle. Despite being off-balance, Taylor hauled the pass in and took a good lick from Junior Rosegreen in the process.
Hit of the Day
Defensive tackle Tim Duckworth plowed running back Brandon Jacobs late in Wednesday's scrimmage. Duckworth fought off a block and got upfield to cut off Jacobs' running lane before he could change directions.
Block of the Day
Walk-on wide receiver Brad Smith (6-5, 209, So.) from Gadsden waited perfectly to crack back on safety Andrew Letts on a sweep his way. Catching Letts when he turned, he sent him flying backwards and helped Tre Smith run for a first down.
The Tigers will have a special teams walk-through Thursday morning before going in full pads at 4:30 on the intramural fields for a two-hour workout. Following Friday's practices, the team will have the largest scrimmage of the fall on Saturday morning beginning at 9:30 inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. All practices are open to the public.