Coach Tommy Tuberville welcomed a 105 players and said the overall group has an athletic look. The Tigers will take the field for their second practice at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday and will take part in Fan Day Activities later in the day at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. That event runs from 3-5 p.m.
Instead of the normal 90 degrees plus heat of preseason drills, the Tigers were greeted with cool temperatures, mostly cloudy skies and a steady breeze. New offensive coordinator Al Borges joked that he thought he was having a flashback to his days as a coach on the West Coast. "This is fabulous," Borges said with a big smile.
Borges, the new member of the AU coaching staff this season, said that he was encouraged with what he saw. "Jason (Campbell) really threw the ball good today," Borges said of the number one quarterback. "We are in good condition. Yox (Kevin Yoxall) has done a fabulous job in the offseason of getting them ready. I think for the first day, it wasn't too bad.
"The young guys are confused--what else is new, right? First day of practice, new offense. Trying to put in an NFL offense for a freshman is not always easy. I think as they understand better and we stop inserting stuff so their brains don't get saturated, I think you will see their ability a little bit more."
Borges noted that for the first six days of practice he will be adding to the offense and after that the Tigers will work on polishing what they will run for the season opener. The offensive coordinator says he will probably expand the offensive package during the season, but added, "I am a little non-committal on that answer depending on how we are executing. If we are confident and we feel like we can handle a little more, we will put in a little more. If we are not executing well, we are much more likely to pull back."
Chris Browder (92) runs a drills as Pat Sims (95) watches.
In other news from Friday's practice:
*Borges said he hopes to get backup quarterback Brandon Cox into a game early this season in a prime-time situation. "He has incredible potential," Borges said. "He can be a really good quarterback, but he needs to fine-tune certain facets of his game. He is like a golfer who can hit a long drive 300 yards down the field, but can't putt. He is still learning how to do some of the little things. He has the talent to play in this conference. It is my job to make sure he shows it."
*The only missing member of the signee class at Friday's practice was tight end Korey Raymond, who is still awaiting approval from the NCAA Clearinghouse. Defensive end Christopher Browder's OK came three minutes into the start of the practice. The 6-5, 221 pound sophomore just completed his juco classes. AU's latest addition to the freshman class, defensive back Lorenzo Ferguson, got plenty of work in his first practice as he paperwork cleared the clearinghouse.
*Freshman defensive lineman Pat Sims won some praise from the coaches for his work in individual drills. He is expected to get a look at both tackle and noseguard and has a chance to play early, Tuberville said.
*True freshman defensive lineman Tyronne Green was at practice working out on an exercise bike. He is limited in what he can do after having nasal surgery. "I didn't have a chance to do many workouts this summer, but the surgery took care of the problem and I am feeling a lot better," he said.
*The only true freshman scholarship wide receiver, James Swinton, had a good day catching the football. Swinton, a likely redshirt, is the lightest member of the signee class at 6-1, 164. "My goal is to gain weight and strength," he said.