Tigers Get Physical Before Second Scrimmage

With the second scrimmage of the fall one day away the Auburn Tigers didn't ease into it, having one of the most physical practices of two-a-days.

Auburn, Ala.–The final tune-up for Saturday's second scrimmage of the fall was a long and physical one as the Auburn Tigers practiced for just over two hours in full pads Friday morning. Coach Tommy Tuberville said the day was a good one from a physical standpoint, but wasn't as crisp as the coaches would have liked heading into scrimmage number two.

"It was a good practice in some areas," Tuberville said. "Real good physically, not very good mentally. We made a lot of mistakes. We didn't throw a catch very well. We didn't protect on the blitz. Defensively we're starting to bring a lot more heat. The offensive line struggled a little bit along with the backs. We're making some progress, it just wasn't a very good mental practice."

The injury situation heading into Saturday remains much the same as defensive ends Stanley McClover and Marquies Gunn will both sit out the scrimmage because of hamstring problems. Wide receiver Courtney Taylor will also miss the scrimmage rehabbing his pulled groin. The good news is that center Steven Ross, who was back practicing full speed, is good to go for the scrimmage and Tuberville said that's good news for the senior.

"He better go tomorrow," Tuberville said of Ross. "He's getting passed up pretty quick."

Much of Friday's practice was spent working 11-on-11 as both the offense and defense worked on things they'll do in Saturday's scrimmage. When they weren't facing off in teams they were usually in head-to-head match-ups that proved to be heated battles. On the line of scrimmage tight end Tommy Trott and defensive end Alonzo Horton had the tussle of the day as they went head-to-head for several plays, one of which boiled over into a short fight that got their teammates riled up.

James Swinton and Coach Greg Knox celebrate after Swinton runs over Patrick Lee in a tackling drill.

In the secondary both Jerraud Powers and Aairon Savage had good days with Savage picking off a pass during team drills and returning it for a touchdown. Powers locked horns with wide receiver Maurice Anderson in one-on-one drills and that too ended in a scrap as Powers got the best of the big receiver on this day.

The biggest play of the day for the players was at the end of practice when John Vaughn was called upon to make a pressure kick by Tuberville. The clock is at 10 seconds and the kicking team has to run on the field and make a field goal, this one from 45 yards. Vaughn nailed the kick with 10 yards to spare to keep the team from running sprints and Tuberville said he's been doing well all fall.

"He hasn't missed many out here this month," Tuberville said. "That was probably the best kick he's had since he's been here."

Saturday's scrimmage will be a change from the first this week as the chains won't be moved into situations around the field with short stints by the first and second teams. This time things will play out like a regular game as the offense will have the ability to sustain a drive. It will also feature some kicking. Tuberville said this will be the scrimmage that tests the players endurance.

"Tomorrow is going to be more of a gut-check," Tuberville said. "We're going to put the ball down and move it. We're not going to run just four plays and out. We're going to see where guys are at mentally and physically and see if we're in good enough game shape. We're going to do some kicking within the scrimmage. Most of it is getting guys out there and getting them tired and seeing how they react when the bear gets on their back."

The day will be an important one for several freshmen as it's likely the final scrimmage they'll have an opportunity to garner some attention for what they do on the field. With the Georgia Tech game rapidly approaching the Tigers will have only one final scrimmage and it will be mostly for the older players to get them ready for the season. Tuberville said for that reason it's showtime for the youngsters on Saturday.

"It's getting pretty close to cut line if you're going to make an opportunity, especially the young guys if they're going to have the opportunity to play," Tuberville said. "We'll scrimmage here and sometime if we feel like it before next Saturday we'll scrimmage. That will be more for guys that we know will play getting them ready for game situations."

Saturday's scrimmage is scheduled for 10 a.m. inside Jordan-Hare Stadium and will be closed to the general public. Tuberville said the reason for that is simple.

"It's just distractions," Tuberville said. "We've got too much to do. It's not really blocking it because we're going to have a lot of people in there. We're going to have a lot of our scholarship donors. It's just distractions. Just going in and not having a day of celebration, but a day of practice."

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