Tigers Not In Game Mode Just Yet

Auburn continued working the first offense vs. the first defense in practice.

Auburn, Ala.–-A cooler day meant good news for the Auburn Tigers on Tuesday as the team returned from an off day to a have a solid two-hour practice in full pads.

Coach Tommy Tuberville said his team worked every part of the game during the practice and he was particularly pleased with the tempo compared to Sunday night.

"It was a good practice," Tuberville said. "It was a lot cooler today and we kept their attention a lot longer than we normally do because of the heat. You could also tell that we had a day off. The guys' legs were fresher. We worked on every phase today. We did a lot more team work.

"We ran a 25-second clock again today and it looked a lot different than it did the last time," Tuberville added. "It looked a lot more calm and settled down. We're going to do a lot more of it in the coming days.

"We didn't do scout teams. We won't do that until probably Thursday or Friday. We're going to continue to work ones versus ones and twos versus twos and try to get better through this week. We'll start the game plan at the end of the week and Sunday."

When the scout teams begin there will likely be a second-team quarterback behind Brandon Cox. That's what offensive coordinator Al Borges said following Tuesday's practice. With both Calvin Booker and Blake Field improving daily, he said that the decision is getting close and he hopes to have it soon.

"It's going to be quick now," Borges said. "It's probably going to be within a day or two. Right now they're (splitting reps at two), but once we get going it's going to be pretty much one. It's hard enough to get two, let alone three. They're both doing a pretty doggone good job."

Quarterback Blake Field is making a push for the number two job.

Continuing his return from a sore arm that kept him from throwing during three practice days last week, Cox went through the entire practice on Tuesday and Borges said he did a very good job throwing the ball once he got loose.

"He looked really good," Borges noted. "It was a good day, the best he's looked since he's come back and thrown. He takes a little longer to warm up now and he throws these balls and I'm like, ‘Oh God,' but once he gets the old soupbone loosened up he's slinging it pretty good."

Because of a new warm up routine that features a long stretching session from trainer Arnold Gambler and throwing a soft-tossing a nerf football to lightly stretch the arm, Borges said that they may have to alter the pre-game warmups to allow Cox to get loose properly this season.

"It might," Borges said of having to change things. "It probably will. Arnold has a nice routine. He's got it to where he's ready to go about the time we do skelly and team periods. He's got a good plan for him. It has worked out pretty good. He's got him on a nerf ball so he's kind of gradually getting loose."

Offensively, the Tigers continue to gradually introduce things they'll use against Georgia Tech on Sept. 3. Just like last season Borges said that he'll begin to get rid of some of the offense the closer they get to game time so the offense can have a clear package of what it will be using on opening day.

"Today you saw a little bit of the Georgia Tech plan, but not all of it," Borges said. "The defense still wanted to see a little more movement such as the shifting and we need to work on that a little more. Some of that we will be using and some of that we will not.

"Two-a-days we try to expose them to so much stuff so during the season it's not brand new," he added. "I would guess about 70 percent of our offense that we'll rep for the Georgia Tech game. You'll see that if you went into our war room (offensive staff room) that the board is becoming diluted because we're taking plays off the board as we gradually game plan. We're about 3/4 of the way done with the game plan."

Unlike most of the players, who are beginning to get their first extensive looks at Georgia Tech this week, the coaches have spent countless hours watching films of the Yellow Jackets in action. Borges said that after watching their defense it was easy to see what Auburn needed to work on in practice in the preseason.

"Pressure until you puke," Borges said. "They're going to come and come. They're not the type of team that is going to lay back. They don't sit still. They're going to force the issue. That's always a little disconcerting with a quarterback in his first game, but I think Brandon has the type of demeanor that can handle it better than most first-game quarterbacks. They've got great speed. They've run the same defense for a while. He does a nice job of mixing his blitzes. They're a good defensive team.

"We've overkilled the blitz," he added. "Today is the first day that we didn't have a blitz period. We have had a blitz period every practice and a blitz walk-through every night. We have tried to touch every base we can. That doesn't mean anything if when the lights go on people forget what they're supposed to do. At least we know as coaches that we're covering and touching as many bases as we possibly can knowing that in the game there may be some things they do that we don't anticipate."

Defensively, the return of Stanley McClover for the second-straight practice along with having a healthy Marquies Gunn on the other end has given the unit some new life. They looked strong and ran to the ball well during Tuesday's practice and Tuberville said that having McClover back on the field is one of the reasons why.

"He did good," Tuberville said. "He has to get in a little bit better shape, but he makes a difference when he's out there. He'll be ready to go."

The Tigers return to practice Wednesday afternoon with a full pads practice.

Tiger Ticket Extra: Steven Ross returned to the practice field on Tuesday and gives the Tigers another option at the center position. With Joe Cope playing well and Jonathan Palmer coming on strong, the return of Ross gives Coach Hugh Nall options at the position. Tuesday both Ross and Palmer worked with the second-team and Palmer also got some snaps at right guard with Leon Hart at left guard, Antwoin Daniels at left tackle and King Dunlap at right tackle.


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