Tigers Open Preseason Practice With Light Workout

Auburn's young players got the bulk of the work during Tuesday's first practice of the fall in 2005.

Auburn, Ala.–-Wanting to get a longer look at the newcomers and younger players on the roster, the Auburn Tigers spent Tuesday's first practice in two separate groups as the veterans stretched and ran while the young guys practiced for just over an hour on the practice fields behind the athletic complex.

One of the coaches who had plenty of players to work with during the practice was running backs coach Eddie Gran. With both Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown gone from last season the positions in the backfield are wide open at the moment, but Gran has plenty of guys to choose from including Tre Smith, Kenny Irons, Carl Stewart and Brad Lester. Also added to the mix on Tuesday was former safety Tristan Davis, who worked there for the first time since high school. Gran said he was impressed by the way the young kids went to work in the year's first practice.

"I liked the attitude," he said. "I like what happened in terms of how they came out to practice. It was full speed and they did the little things right. That's what you have to do."

Tommy Trott catches a pass during Tuesday's practice.

At tight end there were plenty of bodies as well as Tommy Trott, Andrew McCain and Gabe McKenzie all practiced and had solid days overall. Looking for depth behind starter Cooper Wallace and back-up Cole Bennett, Auburn has an opening at tight end and there is a good chance that one or maybe even two of the freshmen could see action this season. Trott said that for a first day it wasn't too bad but he wouldn't have minded seeing the older guys out there to help give some pointers.

"I got a little of those butterflies out," Trott said. "It went all right. It was a lot of work. It was hot out there. It was good to get out there and do it and get that one under our belts. We didn't work out much with the varsity so we've still got a few more steps to go until we're up there practicing with them. It went good.

"It (young guys only practices) has its pros and cons," he added. "The reps are great and you get extra work in, but on the con side a lot of times when you're out there running your reps during the summer Cooper would come and get me after I do something and make it better or sharper. He would kind of teach me."

At quarterback both Calvin Booker and Blake Field saw action during Tuesday's practice and threw the ball well.

Receivers Robert Dunn and Prechae Rodriguez both looked good as well, but the best receiver on Tuesday was redshirt freshman James Swinton. Bigger and stronger since last season, Swinton was all over the place on Tuesday and looks like he'll have a real good chance to work into the playing rotation this fall.

Defensive ends coach Terry Price works with freshman Rudy Odom during a drill on Tuesday.

Defensively the linemen worked on the basics such as stance and pass rushing techniques while also hitting the blocking sleds. At linebacker Tray Blackmon was the only newcomer joining fellow freshmen Courtney Harden, Chris Evans and Merrill Johnson in drills. In the secondary Jonathan Wilhite and Jerraud Powers both showed good quickness and a knack for finding the ball in the air. Powers, along with fellow freshmen Aairon Savage and Walter McFadden, gives Auburn a lethal cornerback corps for years to come. Both Evans and Powers had interceptions during the 7-on-7 portion of Tuesday's practice.

The Tigers are scheduled to return to practice Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 and will practice both Thursday and Friday afternoon before having a Saturday morning practice scheduled to begin at 8:30. Fan Day will take place Saturday afternoon from 3-5 at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.


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