Tigers Keep Busy At First Monday Practice

The Auburn football team put on the full pads for the first of two practices on Monday in a fast-paced two-hour workout.

Auburn, Ala.--With new NCAA rules limiting the amount of preseason practice time, the Tigers finished the first half of their final two practices per day schedule with a full contact session that featured the installation of new plays on offense and more 11 on 11 drills.

Offensive coordinator Al Borges put in several new plays on Monday morning and the offense got to try them out later in the day vs. the defense.

Quarterback Jason Campbell, who got high marks from the coaching staff for his play in Saturday's first major scrimmage, says he likes what he saw. "I think the new plays are going to be effective for us," he says.

The fifth-year senior says the main focus for the offense is to continue to polish its execution and get a feel for playing together as the Tigers prepare for the Sept. 4th opener. Campbell solidified his hold on the No. 1 QB spot with his performance on Saturday and says that he felt like he played "great" in the scrimmage, an opinion shared by the head coach. "Jason was perfect with his reads and played like a senior," Tommy Tuberville notes. "That is what we wanted to see."

Campbell says he is excited about teeing it up on Saturdays this fall. "This is my final year and I am having fun. We have an open, attacking style offense and I will have an opportunity to make plays with my arm and my feet. I believe this offense is going to be great for both our running game and our passing game."

Tailback Carnell "Cadillac" Williams blocks linebacker Kevin Sears (40) in a pass protection drill on Monday.

Defensively, Gene Chizik's secondary got plenty of work defending passes on Monday. The secondary coach and defensive coordinator is giving Kevin Hobbs plenty of work as the redshirt junior makes the move back to cornerback after working at free safety in the spring and the first week of preseason.

"I still have a lot of work to do with my technique at cornerback," says Hobbs. "I am working on staying low and breaking on the football."

Last year at this time, Hobbs was a not very well known walk-on who was unproven in game situations. This year he is a proven commodity after being a regular in the lineup.

"I feel like I have improved a good bit and I am definitely more confident as a defensive back," Hobbs says. "I am stronger and bigger. I am up to 192 pounds now and I hope that I am just as quick as I was. That is one thing that I really want to make sure of as we get ready for the start of the season."

Hobbs was playing well at free safety as the backup to Will Herring. However, with David Irons suffering a knee injury and underdoing surgery on Monday and Courtney Denson leaving the team, Chizik and Tuberville made the decision to move him back to cornerback. "I was enjoying safety, but moving back to corner is okay because I am needed there," Hobbs says. "Right now my goal is to work on my technique so I will be ready to get the job done there when they need me."

At Monday's practice, defensive ends coach Terry Price had a small group to work with as a significant portion of his Tigers were sidelined with nagging injuries. Bret Eddins, Marquis Gunn and Christopher Browder sat out the session and that left Stanley McClover, Doug Langenfeld, Quentin Groves and Neil Brown to receive plenty of attention on Monday.

"We are making some small improvement from time to time, but we still have a long way to go," position coach Terry Price says. "This is still a green group."

Price says he hopes to have everyone back on the practice field soon. "That is part of two-a-days," he says. "We just have pulls and strains, stuff you get in two-a-days."

In other news from Monday's practice:

*Linebacker Travis Williams was running first team in the middle and was surrounded by strongside linebacker Kevin Sears and weakside linebacker Antarrious Williams on the first team. Williams was particularly impressive in one-on-one pass rush drills against the running backs.

*Cornerback Montae Pitts made a variety of good plays in drills vs. the first team offense's receivers. He is a potential starter opposite senior Carlos Rogers who did not participate in the Monday drills as he continues to recover from a knee injury.

*Freshman cornerback Anthony Campbell continues to get plenty of attention from Chizik as the coach looks to build depth at cornerback.

*First team right guard Jarrod Britt missed the last part of practice as he put ice on his shoulder. That gave Tim Duckworth an opportunity to run with the ones and the converted defensive lineman won some praise from line coach Hugh Nall for his blocking.

*In one on one drills vs. defensive linemen, big Marcus McNeill had another dominating performance from his tackle spot.

*Steven Ross worked with the first unit at center with Jeremy Ingle nursing a sore hamstring. Danny Lindsey practiced with the second offense at center.

*The players continue to catch a break with the unseasonably cool weather. Monday's practice featured cool temperatures, clouds and a breeze.

*Carnell Williams, Tre Smith and Silas Daniels fielded all of the punts in practice on Monday as the Tigers worked on punt protection for Kody Bliss. Brad Lester, who has a turf toe problem, watched practice from the sidelines. He also returns punts as does Jerald Watson, who is sidelined with a quad injury.

*The Tigers wrapped up the session with wind sprints and will be back on the intramural field for a 4:30 p.m. practice.


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories