The Tigers completed preparations for Saturday's scrimmage, the first of the spring, with the offense staying after the regular practice ended to work on execution of plays after the defense had called it a night.
New offensive coordinator Al Borges told his pupils that he doesn't expect perfection on Saturday as the Tigers run his version of the West Coast Offense for the first time in a full-scale scrimmage. However, Borges did say that he will accept nothing less than a full-speed, hard-nosed, physical performance between the lines at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"We have had a good five days of practice and we are going to have a good little exam tomorrow morning, hopefully around 9:30 a.m. or 10 o'clock," head coach Tommy Tuberville said Friday night. "We came out and polished to make sure everybody knew what they were doing. We will do punting tomorrow. We will do a lot of situations. We hope to get around 150 plays and play most everybody we have got."
Several key players missed Friday's practice and will not be available on Saturday. The most serious problem is a knee injury suffered by offensive lineman Jarrod Britt, a sophomore who has been working at tackle this week. Britt actually injured the knee in Thursday's practice, but it didn't bother him significantly until that night. Doctors examined the knee and told him it will be scoped and he is probably out for the rest of the spring.
Senior defensive end Doug Langenfeld, who suffered a concussion on Wednesday, was held out of practice with a headache on Friday. He is not expected to be back at practice until Tuesday at the earliest.
Middle linebacker Lemarcus Rowell, recovering from re-injuring an old ankle sprain, did not practice on Friday but may be able to go in Saturday's scrimmage.
Big junior offensive lineman Marcus McNeill missed the practice, but should be ready to go on Saturday. Tuberville says that McNeill will participate in the full pads workouts, but will miss some of the practices in shorts and shells to protect his back, which has bothered the six-foot-nine tackle since he arrived at AU. McNeill was impressive as a blocker a day earlier in Thursday's practice.
In other news:
*Auburn had two football prospects at practice who were in for official recruiting visits. Jason Bosley, an offensive lineman from Grissom High in Huntsville, signed with the Tigers in February. He didn't take an official visit in January because he was busy helping his team to the Class 6A state wrestling title.
Charles Mullen was injured much of his senior season.
*Auburn's other visitor made a much longer journey coming in from the West Coast. Charles Mullen is a 6-4, 230 pound tight end from Madison High in San Diego. the Tigers did not sign a tight end because at the last minute verbal commitment Darrell Strong from Plantation, Fla., High changed his plans and signed with Pitt to play quarterback for the Panthers.
*Jay Ratliff continued to look impressive with his strength and quickness in one-on-one drills. Ratliff has moved from defensive end to tackle.
*Redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Cox had another solid day throwing the football. He and Kelcy Luke are battling for the No. 2 job behind Jason Campbell and Tuberville said again on Friday night that one of those two will be elevated to second string for next week's practices. Cox was fourth or fifth in the QB pecking order a week ago prior to Josh Sullivan giving up football to concentrate on baseball.
Jason Bosley (right) talks to Coach Tommy Tuberville at Friday's practice.
*Wide receiver Ben Obomanu made several nice catches and looks to be having one of his best weeks of practice since he arrived at AU.
*Former Tiger linebacker Mark Brown was among the visitors to Friday's practice. He stayed after the session for a long talk with Whitt, his former position coach.
*Tuberville said that scrimmage may be delayed until later in the day if the weather is bad on Saturday morning.