Injuries Not Slowing AU As Two-a-days Begin

Despite several nagging injuries the Tigers began two-a-day practices on Tuesday morning.

Auburn, Ala.–-Two-a-days started Tuesday morning for the Auburn Tigers as the team practiced for just over two hours in full pads and had what Coach Tommy Tuberville described as a good practice.

"It's kind of unusual that we've been out here for a week and are just starting two-a-days," Tuberville said. "It has been good. We've got a lot of work done the last week. Today we start the grind. It was a good start. It was a good morning, hot, the intensity was real good. The offense looked a lot better than I thought they would coming off a good practice two days ago. Normally they haven't been that consistent, but we looked a little better."

The injury situation still continues to be a bother for the Tigers on both sides of the ball and Tuesday it was at receiver as Courtney Taylor sat the practice out with a strained groin and reserve Jamoga Ramsey went down during the workout with a knee injury. The severity of the injury wasn't known at the practice and the coaches are hopeful that it's just a sprain. Taylor is expected to be back by the end of the week.

Defensively, the ends took another slight hit as Marquies Gunn tweaked a hamstring during the practice and could miss a few days of practice getting that healthy. It is the same injury that has fellow end Stanley McClover sidelined at the moment. Tuberville said that the injury situation is something that can't be avoided, but hopefully it won't continue the rest of the week.

"Everybody is getting fatigued and that happens," the coach noted. "Luckily now we've got our numbers to the point where we can get quality work out of guys that need work instead of cutting practice back. We may get to the point where we have to cut practice back by the end of the week of they keep falling like this. This is six or seven days into practice and it's going to get worse. Now until Sunday will be a grind."

Big Jonathan Palmer works at center for the Tigers during Tuesday's practice.

Sophomore Leon Hart has been getting reps at center with projected starter Steven Ross out with a hip flexor strain, but on Tuesday it was a different player with the second unit as junior Jonathan Palmer worked exclusively at center with Hart at guard. The move seemed to be a good one as Palmer's snaps were solid and the line played well together. Tuberville said the move was just something to give the Tigers more versatility this fall.

"We don't want Leon to have to spend all his time at center," Tuberville said. "We want him to be able to concentrate at other positions. We're looking for three or four centers. You don't want to go into a season with two. You better have three or four just in case. Hugh (Nall) is working them hard."

Overall it was another winning day for the offense as quarterback Brandon Cox threw the ball well for the second-straight practice, hitting both Ben Obomanu and Devin Aromashodu for big gainers during the 11-on-11 work. Defensively Patrick Trahan had the big play of the day for the unit, stepping in front of a Calvin Booker pass and taking it for six.

One week into practice several young players have caught the eye of Tuberville as the Tigers get ready to scrimmage on Wednesday. Among the players making some noise are cornerbacks Jonathan Wilhite and Jerraud Powers along with several of the tight ends. Tuberville said he's been impressed by what they've done so far as well as the play of one veteran.

"All of the young corners are doing well," Tuberville said. "We've watched them on film and they've got a lot of quickness. They've got a long way to go, but just the physical attributes of playing that position, quickness being the main one, they've got a chance to be really good. All of the tight ends, really there is a lot of competition at tight end. Guys are moving around and doing some good things.

"Terry Price has actually bragged on a couple of his guys," he added. "Alonzo Horton being one. A guy that is really playing good for us and is not a young guy is Marquies Gunn. He's fighting for a starting spot and probably made a lot of headway until today. We've got a lot of young guys are receiver and their heads are spinning. There's so much to learn at receiver when you first get here. I'm anxious to really watch the receivers and the defensive backs in the scrimmage tomorrow."

Tuesday the first part of the practice was spent on the punting team as players worked on punt protections for Kody Bliss and backup Patrick Marytn. Both kicked the ball extremely well and have looked good all fall. Returning kicks Tuesday were Tre Smith, Powers, Anthony Campbell and Lee Guess. Wide receiver Robert Dunn has also been catching punts, but missed Tuesday's practice because he was attending a Camp War Eagle meeting.

The Tigers will practice in shells on Tuesday afternoon with the first scrimmage of the fall scheduled for Wednesday morning at 8:30 on the intramural fields because of the rain in recent days. Tuberville said it's a chance for several young players to make a move, particularly the quarterbacks.

"Scrimmages are basically for your quarterbacks," Tuberville said. "Tomorrow we'll situation it where we'll go four plays and leave the ball in the same spot and move hash marks. We'll do different things like third and long. That's how we have it planned, but we'll just have to wait and see depending on the weather. I'm not going to scrimmage tomorrow just to say we're going to scrimmage."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Almost a dozen of the teams participating in the 2005 Dixie Youth World Series in Auburn came to watch the Tigers practice Tuesday morning. Among them were teams from Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi. Missippi's Revis Butler (5-7, 150) won the Century 21 Home Run Derby for 11-12 age division while Auburn's Blain Crain, the son of former Tiger linebacker Kurt Crain, won the 9-10 division during Sunday's opening ceremonies.

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