Young Tigers Looking To Show What They Can Do

Several young players will have the opportunity in the coming days to show the coaching staff what they're capable of doing as the team heads into spring practice.

Auburn, Ala.--Continuing work towards the Capital One Bowl, the Auburn Tigers practiced for just over two hours in full pads on Monday. Coach Tommy Tuberville says that the team had another good day as they start to work more on the Wisconsin Badgers.

"It was a good day," Tuberville says. "There was a lot of intensity. All of the guys are getting pretty much healed up. We're starting to do a little more versus Wisconsin, but we're still doing a lot of technique work, individual, good versus good, just trying to get our speed back and timing back.

"Tomorrow we will have a scrimmage with the younger players as well as a good practice before hand and a lot of special teams work," he adds. "Everything is coming along smoothly, we just need a couple more days of good weather before we go home for a few days."

Health-wise the Tigers are in good shape with almost everyone back on the practice field Monday. One player missing was nose tackle Tommy Jackson, who was out sick. Other than him just senior wide receiver Ben Obomanu was limited in practice due to a bruised heel. Tuberville says that many of the older players will begin to see less action in practice so the coaches can get a longer look at some of the younger players on the roster.

Robert Dunn will be Auburn's starting punt returner when the Tigers face Wisconsin on Jan. 2

One of the players that has shown enough to the coaching staff is true freshman Robert Dunn. The back-up to Tre Smith all season long for the punt return duties, Dunn has moved to first-team for the bowl game and coach Eddie Gran says he's excited to see what Dunn can do with the opportunity.

"He looked good," Gran says of Dunn. "We put him in some live touch situations and just having guys in front of his face. He was catching the ball pretty decent all year long. This is a great opportunity to start fresh now into the new year and we'll see if he can get it done. We're going to need one next year.

"He's been our number two the whole time," he adds on Dunn. "When is ready? Some of those things were not Tre's fault, but some were. More on the some were side, so it was time to make a move."

In addition to Dunn, several players will have the opportunity to show what they can do beginning with Tuesday's scrimmage. Lasting 20-30 plays, Tuberville says the scrimmage will be the chance for several players to make an impression on the coaching staff heading into spring practice.

"Mostly the defensive guys," Tuberville says of the players he's anxious to see play. "I haven't seen much of them this year. Blackmon (Tray Blackmon), Antonio Coleman, Alonzo (Alonzo Horton), Sen'Derrick Marks, all of the DB's because you don't get a real good look at them because they don't do a lot of live work. We'll turn them loose tomorrow and see what they've learned and see where we're at."

Auburn is coming off a busy weekend that saw them host six official visitors on campus. Despite not having the students around campus, Tuberville says that all in all the weekend was a good one for the Tigers on the recruiting trail.

"It went good," Tuberville says. "We had six or seven guys on official visits. It was good to see a lot of guys come on their own on Saturday. They came to practice and were interested in what we're doing, some that have committed and some that haven't. It went real good. Most of the guys that came have been to a game before so it was good that they came during kind of a dead period where you can see things in a different light, meet a lot of different players, see a practice, have an opportunity to go in meetings, and see how guys coach. It was a good weekend."

The Tigers will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before breaking for Christmas. They will resume practices in Orlando on Dec. 27 in preparation for the Capital One Bowl game against Wisconsin on Jan. 2.

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