Cox Still Not Throwing As Tigers Return to Field

News from Thursday's practice includes a position change, a player giving up football and another taking a leave of absence.

Auburn, Ala.--Thursday's Auburn practice was an eventful one with starting quarterback Brandon Cox still not throwing the football, one player giving up the game, another taking a temporary leave and another moving from safety to linebacker.

Cox, the projected starter at quarterback, has done very little throwing since the Sunday evening practice due to a sore shoulder.

Coach Tommy Tuberville and offensive coordinator Al Borges worked the backups, Blake Field and Calvin Booker, in team situations at the two-hour, full pads practice. Cox was there and worked with timing on running plays and other assignments.

Tuberville says the Tigers aren't ready to name a backup to the left-handed quarterback, but notes that Field probably is ahead in the competition for number two.

Brandon Cox takes a break while QB coach Al Borges talks to trainer Arnold Gamber. Coach Tommy Tuberville says that team doctors told him that Cox's problem is inflammation and he should be ready to throw footballs on a regular schedule next week.

On Thursday night after practice, Cox said that if this was game week he would have been out throwing the football. However, a specific date when he will be back to his regular routine has not been established.

Prior to coming up with what the coaches called a sore shoulder, Cox's play was one of the highlights of preseason as he firmly established himself as the strong number one quarterback.

Tuberville said, "Brandon threw some. We didn't throw him a whole lot. He watched most of the day. We are just trying to get him back to 100 percent. Right now we want to look at these other two quarterbacks and get him rested so we can start game planning next week," said Tuberville, who added, "He is much better than he was. We don't want him to re-aggravate it and be out another four or five days."

Kyle Derozan, who missed spring training to play football, will stay in school at AU this semester, but won't be a part of the team. Tuberville said the defensive end's heart was willing, but the body wasn't because of problems with both knees that have limited his quickness.

Derozan played basketball for Coach Jeff Lebo's Tigers earlier this year. Last fall he played tight end for the Tigers after previously playing tight end. He has also been plagued by a shoulder problem.

True freshman strong safety Patrick Trahan, at the suggestion of the coaching staff, particularly linebacker coach Joe Whitt, agreed to move to weakside linebacker for Thursday's practice.

Tuberville says with the depth impressive in the secondary, Trahan has a better chance of getting of the field early at linebacker.

"Everybody tells me I have everything to play linebacker so I guess that is where I was meant to play," Trahan says. "I love safety and I prefer to play safety, but it's about what is best for the team and for me and my playing ability."

He will work as the third team weakside linebacker behind Antarrious Williams and another true freshman, Tray Blackmon, while redshirt freshman Merrill Johnson heals from a dislocated elbow. Johnson is expected back in game action in early September.

"I think it is permanent," Trahan says of the move to linebacker, a position he says he has never played except for a few plays in high school. "I never really got all of the mechanics down for linebacker."

Trahan says he stands a little bit over 6-2 and weighs 211 pounds.

Freshman cornerback Aairon Savage (2) prepares to start a one-on-one drill with Montae Pitts in Thursday's practice.

Walk-on wide receiver Maurice Anderson won't be a part of the team this fall, Tuberville says. The coach says that Anderson plans to take the semester off from football to concentrate on his academics with the intention of rejoining the team for spring training.

Anderson is coming off a solid spring and a good preseason, however, the Tigers are deep in receivers and it is uncertain how much playing time he would have received.

Much of Thursday's practice was dedicated to individual drills and the practice had a brisker pace than the two-a-days sessions that concluded on Monday. The Tigers also worked on the kicking game, but aren't specifically concentrating on Georgia Tech yet with that game more than two weeks away.

The Tigers will practice again Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then take the day off on Monday. They are required to have a day with no practice each week.

Tuberville says that with Cox not participating in the 11 on 11 work, it gives the coaches a better chance to evaluate the backup quarterbacks. Both redshirt freshmen have been up and down this preseason. "They are going to get a lot of reps in the next couple of days," Tuberville says.

"Blake looked like a distant third a week ago," Tuberville says of Field. "Now he has moved up. It is good that both of them are getting reps with the number ones because it is a little different whether you are going with the ones or twos. Those ones can make you look a lot better sometimes. They give you an opportunity to get the ball downfield, which the twos sometimes don't because somebody usually blows an assignment."

Andy Lutz, assistant to head coach Tommy Tuberville, checks in the new walk-ons who want to try out for the football team. There were 49 players in the group that want to play for the Tigers.

Tuberville says that the Tigers, who have scrimmaged twice, won't have a full-scale scrimmage before the Georgia Tech game. He says instead they will do situational 11 on 11 scrimmaging over the next two weeks.

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