Tigers Nearly Back To Full Strength

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about Wednesday's practice and the plan for opening up the offense this weekend.

Auburn, Ala.--Health is usually an issue for a college football team heading into the ninth week of the season, but that's not the case for the Auburn Tigers as they head into Saturday's homecoming game with Louisiana-Monroe.

Wednesday's practice had participation with just about every player on the depth chart and Coach Tommy Tuberville said that led to a good day on the field. Tuberville also said some of the changes in the secondary will get a look in this weekend's game.

"Doug Langenfeld looks like he's about 90 percent," Tuberville said. "It looks like he might be able to play this week. We need to get some snaps out of him and get him back in shape. Everybody else was bouncing around good. It was a good day for what we needed to look at.

"We looked at a lot of blitz," he added. "We've had a little bit of a problem the last few weeks with blitz so we worked on our blitz pickups with our offensive line and with our running backs to try to be more physical. Defensively, we're looking at several combinations at defensive back, but Junior is playing safety right now. We've left him there all week and probably will play him at safety this week with Hobbs (Kevin Hobbs) playing corner. That looks like it's the scenario we're going with."

That move means that one of the safety duo of Will Herring and Karibi Dede will move back to second-team for this week's game. Tuberville said that Herring would continue to be the starter at free safety with Rosegreen moving into the starting role at strong safety.

Demarco McNeil works against offensive lineman Rhett Autry while several NFL scouts look on.

Offensively, the talk all week has been about the lack of production in the passing game. This week should be the time to work out the kinks against a team that has given up big yardage through the air all season. Tuberville said there won't be huge changes, but they will do some things differently to try to get the ship headed in the right direction.

"There won't be any scheme changes we'll just have some game plan changes where you go in with the idea instead of maybe on a second and five you throw the ball instead of running it," Tuberville said. "We have to force ourselves to throw the ball down the field and get it to our outside receivers and get the ball to our tight end more."

In the kicking game Tuberville said that the decision has been made to keep Philip Yost as the starter heading into Saturday's game. Impressive all spring and early in the fall, Tuberville said he believes Yost will get the job done down the stretch if given the opportunity.

"We'll go with Yost again this week," Tuberville said. "He hasn't had enough opportunities yet. He's 2-3. I have all the confidence in both of them (Yost and John Vaughn) they do great in practice. They just have to get in the game and stay with their technique."

More good news on the injury front is that linebacker Antarrious Williams will get his cast removed this week and will play with two hands for the first time this season since breaking bones in both his wrist and arm. Cornerback Carlos Rogers is also scheduled to have his remaining two pins taken out of his thumb early next week and will be ready for Ole Miss. He will play this weekend with a soft cast for the third-straight week.

There were dozens of extra visitors at Wednesday's practice as scouts from NFL teams were in attendance to see Auburn seniors such as Karlos Dansby, Dontarrious Thomas, Reggie Torbor and Demarco McNeil in person. The biggest crowd was around the linebackers as they went through drills at the beginning of practice. The Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49'ers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panters, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and several others had scouts on hand. Among the recognizable faces was former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Dave Campo, who works for the Browns as their defensive coordinator. The Browns are off this week and he took the time to go on the road and scout several players in person. Tuberville worked under Campo as a graduate assistant his first season at Miami.

Saturday's game will kickoff at 1:30 p.m. and there is no television for the game. The game is homecoming for the Tigers with the festivities taking place at halftime.

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