Offense Has Lethargic Morning

Coach Al Borges said he wasn't pleased with what he saw out of his offense in the first of two practices on Wednesday.

Auburn, Ala.–-The first of two practices on Wednesday was spent in a learning mode for both the offense and defense as the Auburn Tigers went through the paces for just over two hours in shorts and helmets. Happy with the performance of his offense through the first five days of practice, Coach Al Borges said that Wednesday's first practice wasn't what he was looking for out of his group on a learning day for the first day of two-a-day practices.

"It was good," Borges said of getting some mental work in. "But I didn't like this morning's practice though. I felt we could have shown a little more intensity. I don't know why, but we should have been fresh. We didn't kill them yesterday. We should have been better.

"The good news is that we have another practice this afternoon and we have some pretty heavy team periods coming up. We have a chance to recover and get something out of the day. I didn't think our timing was very good."

Still amazed at all the rain that fell in a short period of time on Tuesday, Borges said that he knew the practice was going to be in trouble when the yardage markers began floating away on the intramural fields. He said that the rescheduling on Tuesday cost him a little in terms of putting in the offense, but nothing that can't be corrected between now and the season opener.

"It didn't affect us so much that you can't catch up," Borges said. "You have 29 practice opportunities before you play a game and most teams don't use all 29. It puts you a little behind, but it's not hard to catch up. It may put us a little behind in the scrimmage on Saturday, but I don't think so."

Coach Terry Price works with Christopher Browder on his pass rush technique Wednesday morning.

Spending much of the day in position groups, the team worked on drills to help technique while also learning new things on both sides of the ball. Offensively that means working in the passing game with several new things added. Wide receivers Anthony Mix and walk-on Maurice Anderson had good days catching the ball. Anderson was a perfect 5-5 in one-on-one opportunities Wednesday morning.

Defensively linebacker Travis Williams continues to impress Coach Gene Chizik. Several times in 7-on-7 drills he covered a tight end or running back downfield and broke up the pass. Also looking good was cornerback Montae Pitts, who continues his battle with junior college transfer David Irons for the starting job.

Opposite starter Carlos Rogers was again held out of practice because of his sprained knee. He's expected to join the team on the field early next week. The same is true of tight end Cooper Wallace and fullback Jake Slaughter. Both are out with minor hamstring strains, something that Borges said has its good and bad points.

"It hasn't changed any of our installation (of the offense)," Borges said. "It's another one of those good news-bad news things. The bad news is obvious, we can't play them and we would like to get them back. The good news is that we've got a million reps for Kyle Derozan. He's gotten a bunch of turns and he's getting better. If all the guys were there he wouldn't get as many opportunities, so we're developing other players which you have to do when there are injuries."

A group that has caught the eye of Borges through the first few days of fall practice has been the offensive line. Although they frequently catch the wrath of Coach Hugh Nall, Borges said the group has the ability to be a good one if everything falls into place.

"Hugh is hard guy to please," Borges said. "He is a demanding sucker and that's what makes him a great coach, but that group as a whole is pretty darn athletic. The good news is that it's not just the first group. The second group isn't all bad either. It's easy to get excited when you have some kids that can move around like that. I'm sure what he's not pleased about is that we're not very technically sound right now."

The Tigers return to the practice field Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 for a full pad practice on the intramural fields. Both the offense and defense are scheduled to work on short yardage packages with a small 20-play scrimmage near the end of the practice.

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