Defensive Line Coach Grades First Week of Practice

Don Dunn gives his opinion on how his guys on the defensive front are performing.

Auburn, Ala.--If Don Dunn was a professor, he would give his pupils a passing mark from the first week of practice. However, it wouldn't be a pretty grade.

"I am disappointed that they are not physical enough right now," Dunn said after Sunday evening's practice in the rain. "It was a little bit better today. We have got to find some leadership. We have got to be a lot tougher. We have to be more physical against the run. I would give us about a C-minus right now."

Dunn noted that one of the true freshmen is making progress. "I thought Sen'Derrick (tackle Sen'Derrick Marks) is getting better. He is just raw, you know. He is going to be a good player.

Wayne Dickens goes through a drill for Dunn.

"Wayne (senior tackle Wayne Dickens) is doing pretty well. He missed one day of practice (Saturday) so that put him behind. Of course, T.J. (senior noseguard Tommy Jackson) and Josh (sophomore noseguard Josh Thompson) are steady, but we are still not where we need to be physically."

The Tigers will take a break from practice on Monday and have two workouts on Tuesday before having their first scrimmage on Wednesday.

Dickens was back on the practice field running first team at tackle on Sunday. Dickens is trying to hold off challenges from sophomore Neil Brown, who worked at first team on Saturday, along with Marks and redshirt freshman Pat Sims. "Those three kids are doing pretty well," Dunn said of Brown, Marks and Sims. "They know I can only play two, and possibly three, so it is a good battle."

Don Dunn makes a point to Tez Doolittle.

Another player up front was missing from practice on Sunday. "Tez (sophomore Tez Doolittle) has got a bum shoulder and his knee is a little stiff," Dunn said. "Hopefully, he will be back by Tuesday."

Doolittle missed practice time recovering from a kneecap injury. Dunn said the lineman hurt the same shoulder on Saturday that was repaired surgically two seasons ago. "They don't think it is too serious so hopefully he will be back, but he might have to wear a harness."

Dunn added that nobody has won a starting job at tackle and added he has given some first team reps to Brown and Sims in addition to Dickens, who is at the top of the depth chart. The veteran defensive line coach says whoever plays best will start, regardless of seniority--even true freshmen Marks. "He (Marks) has got a lot of quickness and good feet," Dunn said. "He has just got to learn how to practice and compete. He might play. You know us. We will play the best, freshman or not."

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