Another Change For The Tigers

Another change took place for the Tigers in Wednesday's practice, this time to fortify the offense.

Auburn, Ala.--The changes keep on coming for the Auburn Tigers following Saturday's 45-7 win over Vanderbilt. Following Tuesday's moves to bolster the defensive secondary, the offense got a look on Wednesday with tight end Anthony Mix moving back to his natural position of wide receiver to form what should be an imposing first unit for the Tigers along with Courtney Taylor and Jeris McIntyre.

"It's wide receiver again," a smiling Mix said following Wednesday's practice. "I'm okay, I'm good. I was getting kind of used to playing tight end, but I'll be happy wherever they put me now because I know I can do the job."

Moved to tight end to take advantage of his speed off the corner, Mix never got the hang of blocking ing bigger and stronger defenders although he turned into a capable receiver at tight end. Now the 6-5, 235-pounder will have the chance to create match-up problems out of the slot position once again and that's something he's looking forward to.

"It made me more physical," Mix said of playing tight end. "I've been around more physical players so defensive backs and safeties shouldn't be too much of a hassle."

Mix is shown with tight end Cooper Wallace.

Capable of playing both positions if needed, the moves have done one thing for Mix. They have allowed him to learn both how to play and what to do at receiver and tight end. That knowledge is something that should bode well in the heat of battle when figuring out what defenses are trying to do to him in the secondary.

"It's made me a lot better because I know not only what I'm supposed to be doing, but also what he's (tight end) supposed to be doing," Mix said. "Also it has helped me learn routes because I had forgotten a lot of stuff. It helps me remember because I know I do almost the opposite as the tight end. It helps me a lot on the field play-wise."

The changes should be good ones for the Tigers with Mix's ability to get downfield and his size advantage in the secondary. More comfortable at wide receiver instead of on the line blocking for the running game, he said that he hopes to add more playmaking to the position in the coming weeks and help Auburn's passing game improve.

"We can get the job done," Mix said. "We're going to have to if we're going to be successful."

The change was one of the few differences in Wednesday's practice as the Tigers began work on Western Kentucky while also getting some extra practice time in for the younger players. One of the players who continues to benefit from the extra work is tight end Ben Grubbs. Now more important than ever because of the move of Mix, he said he's getting more and more comfortable at the position and hopes to get some action in next week's game.

Cooper Wallace and Ben Grubbs go through drills in Wednesday's practice.

"I think it has helped me a lot," Grubbs said of the extra practice time. "I know I got better today because yesterday I made a lot of mistakes and I pushed through and got better. Today I knew more of what to do. I had to work at it and got better.

"It's all up to me basically," Grubbs added. "If I learn the plays I hope they put me in. It's up to me. If I learn the plays and if I know them they might throw me in. Mix was a good tight end and I was learning from him. Now he's gone and I just have Coop (Cooper Wallace) and the other guys to ask questions of. They're trying to get in the rotation as well so I'm just trying to work."

While the afternoon was one of the hottest in recent weeks, Coach Tommy Tuberville said his team had a spirited practice in the second of three this week before taking Friday and Saturday off. Working on special teams coverage for the first part of practice, the team then spent much of the day getting introduced to Western Kentucky;s offensive and defensive formations. Tuberville said the workout was an important one to get the younger players closer to being able to help this team.

"Normally you do it for guys that are just redshirting, but we're keeping all the guys that are basically second team and trying to get them in some semblance of a game situation," Tuberville said. "That's knowing that probably four or five of them are going to play as the year goes on because guys are going to turn an ankle or whatever. We're just trying to work on our depth and also run our defense and offense. It's not anything game plan-wise. It's just a lot of how we do things."

One of the players getting a lot of work is quarterback Josh Sullivan. Following his impressive debut as a Tiger last weekend, Tuberville said they are hoping to get both he and center Jeremy Ingle into the game earlier from now on to make sure he gets a feel for crunch-time play.

Offensive consultant Zeke Bratkowski has come and gone and Tuberville said the veteran was a great help to the Auburn offensive coaching staff as they continue to try to improve in the off week. Not paid for his services, but rather doing them as a favor to Tuberville, Bratkowski had some suggestions for the coaching staff on formations and patterns that Tuberville hopes will pay off down the road. Tuberville said Bratkowski plans to return with his wife to watch the Western Kentucky game on Saturday, Sept. 27. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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