Football Tigers Tune For Second Major Scrimmage

The football Tigers had a busy workout on Friday putting in new plays for Saturday's scrimmage.

Auburn, Ala.--For players not at the top of the depth chart, spring scrimmages are very important.

That is certainly the case with backup tailback Chris Butler, who looked impressive again on Friday as the Tigers spent 2 1/2 hours in helmets and shorts tuning up for the second major scrimmage of the spring. It is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"It is very important because every scrimmage counts," Butler says. "It is an opportunity to come up on the depth chart."

That depth chart is currently rather vague at Butler's position. It is Carnell Williams number one and Butler, Casinious Moore and Ronnie Brown, in no particular order are 2A, 2B and 2C says Tommy Tuberville. The coach adds that all of the tailbacks are playing well this spring.

"We have got four talented guys so it is a competitive situation," Butler says. "That is what you like about spring ball. You get a chance to go out there in scrimmages to prove yourself and show the coaches what you can do."

Butler runs at Friday's practice.

Butler and his teammates on the offensive side of the ball will be busy on Saturday trying to implement the new schemes put in at Wednesday's and Friday's practices and execute them on Saturday in a pressure situation. Friday's workout was mainly devoted to teaching and preparing for what is expected to be a longer scrimmage than the one a week earlier.

In the first scrimmage, the offense didn't have any turnovers, but was generally outplayed by the defense. New coordinator Bobby Petrino has added more plays to the Tiger attack and Butler and his teammates will try to make more big gainers this week.

When asked about the new offense, the 5-11, 213-pound junior tailback says, "Actually, I love it. I have adapted to it real well. You have to think a lot, listen to the calls and make your read."

Butler has good reason to be upbeat. He looks quicker, stronger and more confident than he did a year ago. "Spring has been going real well," he says. "I am catching the ball better, learning the offense, picking everything up. It has been going pretty well for me. Probably the biggest thing I have been working on is catching the ball better. I have been focusing hitting the hole quickly when I run the ball."

Butler and his offensive teammates worked on the two-minute offense on Friday, something that will be on display at the Saturday scrimmage. The Tigers are also going to focus on goal line offense and defense on Saturday.

Tuberville says that both the offense and defense will have more in their playbooks than they did at the first scrimmage. "The defense is going to do a lot more--a few more blitzes, a few more stunts, a couple of more fronts. Offensively, we are going to run more formations and do a few motions and movements with tight ends and back. It will be a mental day. We will go probably 30 or 40 more plays than we did last week as long as we have got the numbers to do it. It should be an interesting practice."

Tuberville says he wants to see the wide receivers step up at the Saturday scrimmage and he is going to watching the offensive line's consistency or lack of it. The first team OL got to take a "grass drill" break from the two-minute offense portion of practice on Friday when position coach Hugh Nall was unhappy with what he was seeing from the group as a whole. Tuberville says he will be closely watching the offensive line on Saturday.

Tight end Lorenzo Diamond is shown at Friday's practice.

After last week's scrimmage, Tuberville said the plan was to probably let Daniel Cobb have more reps as the number one quarterback for scrimmage two after Jason Campbell got that honor last Saturday. However, after Cobb struggled in Wednesday's and Friday's practices while Campbell looked much sharper, the pecking order has not changed. However, Tuberville did say, "We are going to get Daniel some snaps with the one group."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Tuberville says he likes what he saw from Friday's work on the kicking game. Both Damon Duval and Phillip Yost are kicking field goals well...Victor Horn will run as the first team fullback this week ahead of Michael Owens. Tuberville says, "It's pretty close. I want to look at Victor in that situation and see how he can handle it mentally. He has done real well. He is learning more of the offense."...Defensive tackle Dante Booker returned to practice on Friday and is about 90 percent, Tuberville says. He sprained his ankle before the start of spring drills and will see his first contact action on Saturday...Defensive end Jay Ratliff is only 80 percent and is not practicing. He was running by himself on Friday as he recovers from a knee sprain and an ankle injury.


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