Coaches Like Attitude Of First Full Practice

Coaches Tommy Tuberville and Al Borges talk about Wednesday's first full squad practice.

Auburn, Ala.-–With temperatures in the low 80s with clouds and a gentle breeze, the weather for Auburn's first full team practice couldn't have been better. Coach Tommy Tuberville said that the team had a good day as they tried to get back into the football mode once again.

"It was a good start today," Tuberville said. "We had perfect weather to get our first full practice in. It was fun to see everybody out here having a good time. It's not going to be like this the whole time--obviously it's going to get hot.

"Tomorrow (Thursday) we start in shoulder pads and have a little more contact. A lot of the younger guys' heads are beginning to swim a little bit, but that's natural. Tomorrow we'll pick it up and add a little contact and start working on a few of the fundamentals that we can work on with just shoulder pads."

Working mostly in separate offensive and defensive units, the Tigers spent the majority of the practice drilling on the basics and running base plays. That meant working on breaking the huddle, where to line up, who to block, etc. Tuberville said that days like Wednesday are really a necessity for the team, especially the younger players.

"You can tell some things," Tuberville said. "We can do a lot of things we would do just in shoulder pads. We're not going to put anybody on the ground, but we can work fundamentals and techniques. We can see how guys flip their hips, how much flexibility they have. We see a lot more in these freshmen today than we did yesterday because they're competing against these older guys. These are good practices and we'll have a few more of these."

Coach Joe Whitt watches linebacker Travis Williams as he practices taking on blocks with the sled at the intramural fields on Wednesday..

The most watched position this fall is going to be at quarterback where sophomore Brandon Cox is the heir apparent to Jason Campbell for the Tigers. After a solid spring Cox is firmly entrenched as the starter heading into the fall with Calvin Booker and Blake Field battling for the back-up job. Offensive Coordinator Al Borges said that he thought the day went pretty smoothly for all three quarterbacks as they try to get back into the rhythm of the game.

"We're still a little rusty, but you could tell we've done it a year," Borges said. "At least in terms of the kids that have been playing they know what to do. For the most part we're just a little rusty, which is the first day. We made some good throws and good catches. We're not quite a well-oiled machine."

While he wasn't as smooth as silk, Cox had a pretty good day throwing the ball against a secondary that was playing very tight and physical coverage much of the day. Hooking up on several solid plays with Ben Obomanu, Tommy Trott and Jamoga Ramsey, Cox mixed the good and the bad at times but Borges said it did remind him of a day one year ago.

"He missed a couple I thought he should have hit," Borges said of Cox. "But it was the first day. Jason looked the same way last year. If we hit our groove a little more and he feels comfortable with who he's throwing the ball to you'll see he's an accurate passer. So much of it is rhythm and getting back into the groove a little bit."

Defensively, the secondary was on display for much of the day as David Irons Jr. had a tremendous day in coverage and virtually locked down his side in 7-on-7 drills. True freshman Jerraud Powers also looked good in coverage and made several nice plays on the ball. Linebacker Travis Williams led the defense on and off the field and in the huddle while up front Tommy Jackson controlled things for the unit.

In drills the defensive line looked very good with Stanley McClover, Quentin Groves, Marquies Gunn and Christopher Browder all showing their athletic ability and speed. Among the new players, both Antonio Coleman and Alonzo Horton did well in the technique portion of the drills.

The Tigers will return to practice Thursday afternoon in helmets and shoulder pads. Thursday's workout is open to the public and is scheduled to begin at 4:30. Auburn will practice Friday afternoon and then again Saturday morning before Fan Day later that afternoon from 3-5 at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

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