Two Tigers Out Of Spring Due to Injuries

The Tigers made a position change in Sunday's practice.

Auburn, Ala.--The Tigers returned to the practice on Sunday minus several defensive players who were injured in Saturday's first major scrimmage of spring drills.

No. 1 fullback Michael McLaughlin suffered a torn ACL and will have knee surgery this week. He is out for the spring.

Also out for the spring is weakside linebacker Merrill Johnson, who opened the spring number one on the depth chart ahead of Tray Blackmon. He suffered a high ankle sprain on Saturday.

"I thought Tray Blackmon played well in the scrimmage," head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "He made some mistakes mentally, but flew around and made some mistakes.

"Kevin Sears played well. We put him in the middle because Karibi (Dede) missed the first half of practice because of a certification test he had to take for his major.

"(Cornerback) Jonathan Wilhite is really coming on strong," Tuberville noted. "He is making a lot of strides. One of the young guys who has shown up is (cornerback) Jerraud Powers. He is moving up the chart fairly quickly. He has really got a nose for the football. I think he has a chance to be a good one."

Aairon Savage is off to a good start this spring.

Free safety Lorenzo Ferguson was injured on Saturday and could miss some practice time this week. In his absence, redshirt freshman cornerback Aairon Savage moved from cornerback to free safety and got plenty of work there at Sunday's practice in helmets, shorts and shoulder pads.

Sunday's practice was the sixth of 15 for the Tigers and much of the session was spent on the passing game. Saturday's scrimmage featured the running attack and trying to be tough on both sides of the football.

"Physically, we are a long ways away with our techniques and the things we are teaching on the line, linebackers and defensive backs," Tuberville said of the defense after grading the Saturday scrimmage."

Commenting on the offense, he said, "We did a lot more passing game today and went over some mistakes we made. I thought the scrimmage went good. It wasn't great. We made a lot and fundamental and technique mistakes."

In other news:

*Tuberville had praise for defensive linemen Tez Doolittle and Pat Sims.

*The team had to run wind sprints after practice when three kickers missed 54-yard field goal attempts to close practice. The kickers had to hit two of three to prevent the wind sprints, but John Vaughn, Zach Kutch and Matt Clark were all off target.

Antwoin Daniels (70) and the rest of the Tigers worked out for less than two hours on Sunday after having position meetings to evaluate Saturday's scrimmage.

*Offensive line coach Hugh Nall praised the work of offensive tackle King Dunlap and said that backup tackle Antwoin Daniels outperformed Leon Hart in the scrimmage. Nall said tht he has moved Daniels even on the depth chart with Hart.

*Tuberville praised the play of Cole Bennett and fellow tight end Tommy Trott in the scrimmage.

*Tight end Gabe McKenzie is still out with a hamstring problem and it is not certain when he will be back. Tuberville noted that the coaches don't want him back on the field too early and cause him to re-aggravate the injury.

The Tigers will take the day off on Monday and will practice again Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuberville said the Tigers may practice Thursday, but that is still to be determined.

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