Spring Football News & Notes

Comments from Tommy Tuberville and players as well as news and notes on the football Tigers are featured as Auburn nears the halfway point of spring training.

Auburn, Ala.--With six practices down and nine to go, including the April 6th A-Day Game, the football Tigers are taking some time off to rest and recover before their next on the field session which is set for Wednesday.

Coach Tommy Tuberville says the offense and defense will be expanding their playbooks this week as they prepare for the second major scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. "We are going to accelerate a little bit and pick it up and add more of the offense and defense over the next few practices," the coach says.

On offense, that means more responsibility will be put on the shoulders of the quarterbacks. It is a two-team race for the starting job between sixth-year senior Daniel Cobb and redshirt sophomore Jason Campbell. The other QB at spring practice, true freshman Wesley Hill, did the warmup drills but was on the sidelines on Saturday at the team's first major scrimmage of the spring. (Signee Brandon Cox from Hewitt-Trussville High made the trip to campus to watch the scrimmage, too.) Campbell got most of the work with the first team although Cobb did get scrimmage time with the No. 1 players.

"Next Saturday we will give Daniel a chance with the first group a little more often," Tuberville said. "We just stayed with the same group mainly for the quarterback/center exchange. We wanted to make sure we got that. There is not a lot of difference between the first and second group right now because we are alternating running backs and tight ends. We didn't put a lot on them (the quarterbacks) this time. We were pretty basic, but I thought they did well. They ran the offense pretty good. We didn't check off much. We didn't put a lot of mental stuff in."

The quarterbacks had nearly identical statistics with Cobb hitting 16-28 passes for 146 yards and Campbell 16-26 for 140 yards. Neither passed for a touchdown, but neither threw an interception and there were no turnovers in the scrimmage. "We did some good things and some bad things," Campbell says. "We still have a couple of weeks to work on things and improve. I thought we really looked good for a first day scrimmage. I think we (the quarterbacks) are going to pick it up. I thought we did all right. It was just a couple of throws here and there."

Tiger Ticket Notes: New offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino has been working on changing Campbell's passing grip on the football. It is a grip Campbell has used going back to his high school days in Taylorsville, Miss. The quarterback admits that in the full-speed scrimmage on Saturday he reverted to his old form. "I couldn't get a good grip on the ball," he said. "It is kind of different when you get a full rush in your face. I am not worried about that because that is going to come. I still have got a while to work on that."...The Saturday scrimmage was the first game style action for tailback Carnell Williams since he injured his shoulder last November. If he was showing signs of protecting the injury, nobody noticed and Williams said he didn't even think about it. "He is very exciting to watch," Campbell said of Williams. "The guy has got quick feet and a nose for the game. I just wish him the best because I think he is going to continue to get better and better and a lot stronger. He is so quick. Once he sees the hole he is like a cat. One thing about Carnell is that he has great vision. The other running backs did a great job. They showed a lot of toughness and a lot of character."..Tuberville said that the whole group of tailbacks is playing well this spring. "Ronnie Brown has lost some weight and added some quickness," the head coach noted. "We have got a lot of good running backs and Carnell is a good football player, but we want to make sure with all these guys that we keep their attention and find out what they can do because you never know what is going to happen. We found out last year that they are all one play away from being the man."...The fullbacks didn't get much running action in the first scrimmage. Victor Horn had one carry for eight yards. First stringer Michael Owens didn't get to run the football. Marshall Thornton, a 5-11, 230-pound senior walk-on from Jonesboro, Ga., had one carry for two yards. Brandon Johnson, the projected starter at the position, is not available for action until two-a-days after having shoulder surgery...Auburn coaches were very pleased with the turnout at their annual clinic for high school football coaches. "We had 350 coaches there and that is more than we have had," said Jimmy Perry, who coordinates Auburn's relations with high school and pro coaches...The Tigers got through Saturday's scrimmage with no injuries.

Tiger Ticket Extra: Junior defensive tackle Spencer Johnson had a pair of sacks in the scrimmage and continued his strong spring performance. "Everybody was out there running around," Johnson said. "The defense was really enthused. We knew what we had to do. I think everybody is pretty much comfortable with the scheme we have. We just went out and played hard and ran the ball like we are supposed to do. Overall, I think it was very good for the time we have had to put everything in. Everybody is really fired up about this defense and is ready to get out there and make plays.

"The intensity is real high but can be better," Johnson added. "Right now, we are just focusing on learning what we have got to learn. We have not put in everything yet. We are going to put in more stuff and everybody has got to stay in their notebooks and learn the defense like coach wants them to do and get out there and use their athletic ability and play."

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