Auburn Injury Situation Clearing Up

Coach Tommy Tuberville and Coach Terry Price talk about Auburn's preparations for the LSU game this weekend.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers could have defensive end Doug Langenfeld back this weekend against LSU and offensive tackle Marcus McNeill is probable even though he's still bothered with back pain that kept him out of last week's game. Both players participated in Wednesday's practice on a limited basis, but Coach Tommy Tuberville said he's hopeful that both players will be ready to go this weekend against the #9 LSU Tigers.

"We had a good practice," Tuberville said. "Marcus McNeill practiced today and so did Ronnie Brown. Langenfeld was running, but he didn't go through drills. He was running a lot better. He has a chance, we just have to wait and see. Ratliff (Jay Ratliff) isn't 100 percent, but he's going full speed and looks good."

With LSU's talented return men such as Skyler Green and Devery Henderson threats to take kicks the distance each time they touch the ball, Tuberville said the Tigers spent a great deal of Wednesday's practice on covering kicks to keep the field position edge in Saturday's game. He said he believes that's going to be an important statistic this weekend for the winning team.

"They have a great return team, good returners and a lot of speed and quickness," Tuberville said. "A lot of people have been kicking away from them. We feel like we've got a punter (Kody Bliss) that can hang it up and get a lot of hang time. Definitely our coverage teams have been a point of emphasis this week."

Senior defensive tackle Spencer Johnson listens intently as Coach Eddie Gran tells the punt coverage team what to expect out of LSU's blockers Saturday night.

Hoping to pick up the slack for Langenfeld on the end if he's unable to go will be redshirt freshman Kyle Derozan. A Louisiana native, Derozan is finally healthy after struggling with a shoulder injury the last two weeks and played his best game last Saturday against Mississippi State when he came up with his first career sack. Tuberville said Derozan and true freshman Marquies Gunn will likely get some work against LSU this weekend.

"Kyle continues to get better and Marquies Gunn is improving every day," Tuberville said. "We're playing him and not redshirting him. He's doing real well. We've got the numbers, it's just hard to lose those guys that were starters. It's hard to replace that experience."

Defensive ends Coach Terry Price said they are going to need all the healthy bodies they can get up front facing a running attack like LSU has with a wealth of talented running backs capable of making big plays.

"Those freshmen are very impressive," Price said. "Number 25 shakes and bakes and has as good of moves as anybody we have. He can cut on a dime and make a lot of people miss. The other big freshman runs like Brandon Jacobs. He's a bull out there. He runs over folks and runs around them. Those two guys, if you didn't know they were freshmen and didn't know their jersey numbers, you would think they were the starter and the regular back-up that they started the season with."

Freshmen Justin Vincent and Alley Broussard aren't the only dangerous runners the Tigers will face Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Quarterback Matt Mauck, while known for being an accurate passer and field general, can also get the job done when he pulls the ball down and takes off. Price said that playing Matt Jones two weeks ago has been helpful when preparing for what LSU does offensively.

"People under-estimate how active and how athletic he is," Price said. "They do a lot of the things offensively that Arkansas does that gives you problems with the quarterback running. There is a lot of emphasis this week on us playing those plays and getting him tracked down and tackled. If you keep your eye on those tailbacks the quarterback can break a 40 or 50 yard run. He can hurt you a lot of ways."

Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. and can be seen nationally on ESPN. LSU leads the all-time series 19-17-1 and owns a 10-5-1 advantage in Baton Rouge.

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