Tigers Begin Scout Team Work For Georgia Tech

Auburn used Thursday to introduce scout team work for the season opener against Georgia Tech.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn football team took its first big step towards getting ready for the season opener against Georgia Tech on Sept. 3 as the scout team split from the rest of the squad in Thursday's practice.

"It was a pretty ragged day today," says head coach Tommy Tuberville, who is preparing for his sixth year at Auburn. "It's not very fun when you're coaching because this was scout team day--the beginning of scout teams. It was a little rough, but we've got to learn how to practice when you're doing pictures of the other team. We'll get that down."

Although there will likely be a handful of true freshmen who see the field against the Yellow Jackets, all of the newcomers worked with scout team during the two-hour practice.

"We've got them all scout teaming right now until we figure out if any of them are going to play," Tuberville says. "Right now all of the freshmen will play some kind of scout team up until Sunday. And then we'll pull some out that we feel like can help us. Right now pretty much all of them are over there, but that doesn't mean that they're not going to play. We're trying to make decisions on who is going to be in the game and who's not."

Walk-on wide receiver Rodgeriqus Smith (23) works against the offense during a scout team session Thursday.

True freshman receiver Robert Dunn continued to get work as a punt returner during the practice along with Tre Smith and Lee Guess. Smith is expected to be the man back against Georgia Tech because of his experience.

At cornerback, sophomore Patrick Lee got all of the reps with the first-team defense opposite David Irons. However, that move is not set in stone according to coordinator David Gibbs.

"We'll keep going and see what happens," Gibbs says of the competition at corner. "I'm not going to say one way or the other. We'll find out come game time. Both kids are working hard, and Jonathan Wilhite had a good day today. He keeps showing up. I won't be surprised if he ends up on the field at times in the game. It's a good problem to have, and by no means am I rushed. I don't want to make a big deal about it. If Montae is the best player he'll be out there. If he's not, he'll be over there by me."

While Pitts is currently running with the second-team, Gibbs adds that he'll still see the same good looks from the offense as if he were running first.

"The good thing about going against this offense is that we have five or six great receivers," he says. "Regardless of what some people say, if you're going against the twos on our defense you're going against some great wide receivers. So it's not like you're not getting great work anyway."

The only injury of the practice was to Alonzo Horton. The true freshman defensive end has battled through ankle troubles for the last couple of weeks and had his Achilles stepped on. Horton had to be helped off the practice field by team trainers, but Tuberville said following practice that the strain should only hold him out until Sunday.

As a testament to the depth in the secondary, sophomore Tony Bell, a high-profile recruit in 2004, is officially listed as a scout teamer. However, according to Gibbs, Bell will continue to run with the first, second and third-team units as well.

"He practiced with me today, so I don't know about any scout team mess," Gibbs says. "He's still working hard and he's still on the list. Obviously some people have to go to the scout and do their job, but you try to keep as many guys up as you can, but the offense needs to get a good look, too."

Members of Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Ga., were in attendance to watch the Tigers in the full-pad but limited contact workout. They play Robert E. Lee Thursday night at Cramton Bowl.

"That's Tristan Davis' high school," Tuberville says. "I think they're playing over in Montgomery and they stopped by to watch a little practice and lay around a little in the field house."

The Tigers are scheduled to practice Friday afternoon at 4:15 before taking Saturday off. The team will return to the practice field on Sunday afternoon to begin game week for Georgia Tech.

"We're trying to get everybody's legs back and get healthy," Tuberville says. "It's been a good week--a hot week. I think we improved a little bit this week, and now it's time to get ready for the game."

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