Mixed Reviews For Football Practice

Auburn started its final week of spring football practice with a lengthy, full pads session on Tuesday.

Auburn, Ala--Following an 11-day layoff for spring break, the Auburn Tigers returned to the football practice field for a two and a half hour workout on Tuesday that focused mainly on the fundamentals and did not please Tommy Tuberville.

The head coach said he wants to see a better effort on Wednesday and Thursday, the final two days of spring practice prior to the A-Day Game on Saturday to close spring workouts. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 1 p.m. and it will match the first team offense and defense against the second team units.

"It was a good week or so off," said Tuberville, who noted the break gave his players time to recover from nagging injuries. "We needed it, both the players and coaches. We came back today and were real lethargic. We didn't have a very good practice. I thought the intensity wasn't near as good as it should have been, especially in our team drills. Offensively, we're still not very consistent. We're missing too many assignments, not making enough plays and the quarterbacks are throwing the ball to the wrong color jerseys…we've gotten a lot put in but I don't know how much we've gotten done, especially on offense. We've got a long ways to go. Hopefully, we can get a little bit of confidence built up through Saturday."

Tailback Casinious Moore runs a drill in Tuesday's practice. The tailback had several nice runs in the 11 on 11 work at practice number 12.

Confidence, especially on offense, is centered around the quarterback. If Tuesday's practice is any indication it's going to be hard for the coaches and players to find that in senior Daniel Cobb. Very erratic with his throws and slow with his decisions, he was easily outplayed by sophomore Jason Campbell in every phase of the game in practice number 12 of the spring leaving Tuberville some tough choices heading into Saturday.

"They've been fluctuating back and forth," he said of Campbell and Cobb. "I thought going into today's practice it was pretty much even, but Daniel didn't have a very good day today at all. He just mentally wasn't into getting the right things done. His technique was bad. Jason was much better technique-wise, but mentally he's still a little bit behind. If we were going to have to play a game tomorrow it looks like Jason would be the quarterback. I think Thursday's practice and Saturday's practice will really give us an indication of who's going to have the reins going into two-a-days."

With the quarterback play erratic, the offensive production fell to the running game and that meant the Carnell Williams show. The sophomore from Attalla ran through, around and over defenders all day Tuesday showing once and for all that he's back from the shoulder injury that shortened his season last year. Also impressive on offense was Casinious Moore, who had several long runs and looked good catching the ball out of the backfield.

On the defensive side of the ball there was a sight for sore eyes for coach Terry Price as end Jay Ratliff practiced for the first time on Tuesday since being injured on the first day in pads last month. Counted on heavily to provide some push at end with departed starters Alton Moore, Javor Mills and James Callier having moved on to greener pastures, Ratliff wasted little time showing his worth with several plays in the backfield and a couple of sacks during the 11-on-11 portion of practice.

Now the Tigers prepare for Saturday's A-Day game with improving on their minds. Working on basic things such as blocking and tackling, the Tigers spent almost half of Tuesday's practice on fundamentals. Before and after the practice, the coaches said the final practices of spring will focus on fundamentals with most of the offensive plays in and the defensive package installed.

Jason Campbell throws a pass to Justin Fetsko in Tuesday's 11 on 11 work as tailback Chris Butler looks for somebody to block.

"We just want to try to brush up and try to get back to fundamentals a little bit," Tuberville said. "We'll do a little bit more teaching in that area rather than putting in new things because I think we lost a little bit of fundamentals by just adding new formations and having to spend too much time on plays and execution. Now we're getting back to pass protection techniques and offensive line blocking. Just little things that you have to do. That will be our main concern going into two-a-days also."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Cornerback Roderick Hood made an impressive interception vs. Campbell in the two-minute drills at the end of the practice...Defensive tackle Spencer Johnson continued his strong play with consistent pressure on both quarterbacks in the 11 on 11 work on Tuesday.


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