Freshman wide receiver Bruce Edwards is not in the playing rotation for the opening game and is a likely redshirt this year. Other likely redshirts include tailback Carl Stewart, defensive back Patrick Lee, quarterback Courtney Denson, quarterback Kelcy Luke and linebacker Quinton Groves. Tez Doolittle, the fullback and linebacker who is rehabbing from summer shoulder surgery, is redshirting.
Carnell Williams makes a run in Auburn's 24-17 loss to Southern Cal last August. The Tigers and Trojans have met just twice. AU won the first meeting at the Florida Citrus Bowl 16-7 following the 1985 season. Williams rushed for 97 yards on 14 first half carries vs. the Trojans last year. He suffered cramps and finished the game with 94 yards on 21 runs.
Noseguard Josh Thompson, kicker John Vaughn and punter Kody Bliss will likely play. Both Vaughn and Bliss are pushing for starting job...Defensive end Stanley McClover, if he is declared academically eligible for game action, will likely play, too...The plan was to redshirt offensive tackle King Dunlap when he was signed and that could happen, but with the injury situations with offensive linemen Taylor Bourgeois, Ryan Broome, Rich Trucks and the illness to Thomas Anderson that might not be possible if there are any more injuries.
Defensive end Marquies Gunn looked to be a redshirt when he was signed, but he has done a lot of things well in preseason. With good depth at his position the coaches will probably be able to redshirt the quick end...Re-signees Timmy Duckworth, a defensive tackle, and outside linebacker Kevin Sears will play...There is a good chance that Eric Brock, who moved from cornerback to safety during two-a-days, will play. Tight end Cole Bennett will definitely play and it will be a big surprise if Jarrod Britt doesn't play at offensive guard.
The Tigers return 21 offensive lettermen from 2002 and 21 defensive lettermen. Three specialists also lettered...Kickoff times are still not set yet for most of the football games. The Vanderbilt contest will not be at night as was the case for Auburn's last trip to Nashville. The Tigers and Commodores will kick off at either 11:30 a.m. or 2:30 p.m...Auburn's home games vs. Western Kentucky (4 p.m.) and Louisiana-Monroe (1 p.m.) are set as is the 2:30 p.m. CDT game two at Georgia Tech...Auburn is shooting for its 13th straight non-conference home victory when Southern California visits Jordan-Hare Stadium...The Trojans are the fourth straight Top 10 opponent for the Tigers, who closed the season with a loss to Georgia and victories over Alabama and Penn State.
New QB coach Steve Ensminger says Wesley Hill will be the No. 3 quarterback because he understands the offense better than Brandon Cox and the incoming freshmen. Hill has been through two springs at Auburn and Ensminger says that the redshirt freshman, who was an early high school graduate, can read defenses and get the team into the right play...It looks like Tre Smith will be the punt returner for the Southern California game and he says he is eager to see what he can do after not getting much action in that role in high school because teams avoided punting the ball near him...Other players who could be joining Smith on the punt return team include wide receiver Jeris McIntyre, linebacker Dontarrious Thomas, linebacker Kevin Sears, wide receiver Justin Fetsko, safety Donnay Young, safety Andrew Letts, safety Bret Holliman, safety Roshard Gilyard and linebacker Derrick Graves...Redshirt freshman defensive end Kyle Derozan looks ready to see his first collegiate action now that he is has recovered from a knee problem that caused him to miss some practice time during two-a-days.