Saturday Practice Features 11 on 11 Drills

Auburn spent a significant portion of Saturday's practice with the first team offense working agains the first defense and the twos vs. the twos.

Auburn, Ala.--There was relatively good news on the injury front on Saturday as the Auburn Tigers pushed through their fourth consecutive day of preseason practice that featured a significant amount of 11 on 11 work.

Projected starting center Joe Cope, who went down in pain at Friday's practice, wasn't able to participate on Saturday, but head coach Tommy Tuberville said the senior should be back in three or four days after recovering from a "mild sprain" to his knee.

However, there was some more attrition on the offensive front as backup redshirt freshman offensive tackle Oscar Gonzalez suffered a dislocated toe in a one on one drill. It is not known how long he will be sidelined.

The Tigers worked for two and a half hours in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. They will go again on Sunday at 4:45 p.m. for their first full pads workout of the preseason before taking the day off on Monday.

Offensive coordinator Al Borges will have plenty of video to study before Sunday's practice with the Tigers spending close to an hour in 11 on 11 working with no tackling allowed.

"We weren't bad on offense for the fourth day of installing," Borges says. The skelly drill (receivers vs. the defensive backs and linebackers) wasn't good. At times we were good, at other times not so good. We are about where I would expect to be after four practices."

Cole Bennett runs after making a catch with Aairon Savage and Davis Irons in pursuit.

One of Auburn's most experienced players, fifth-year senior running back Tre Smith, says the 2006 Tigers have potential on offense. "We are making progress every day," Smith says. "We aren't a great team right now. This is only our fourth day. We have all of the potential in the world. The key is how we come together as a team."

Tuberville gave the Saturday workout a mixed review. "We had a good team practice today," he said. "We had a lot of mistakes, but that is going to happen. We are looking forward to tomorrow (Sunday) to get a little more contact and physical stature to the practice."

The head coach noted he liked the speed he is seeing on defense, but also said it is obvious the Tigers need to get better with their assignments on that side of the ball.

Senior defensive end Marquies Gunn gets past junior offensive tackle Leon Hart in a one-on-one drill on Saturday.

In other practice news:

*Linebacker Karibi Dede was pulled out of practice because he got dehydrated.

*With Dede out of action, Merrill Johnson worked with the first team defense at middle linebacker.

*Walk-on cornerback Zach Gilbert and cornerback Jonathan Wilhite both got interceptions in the 11 on 11 work.

*Defensive lineman Tez Doolittle is having a good preseason following up his strong spring.

*Redshirt freshman defensive end Antonio Coleman has looked quick and effective in the one-on-one pass rush/protection drills.

*True freshman Zach Clayton won praise from the defensive coaches for his work at defensive end in one on one drills.

*True freshman Mike Berry worked at center with the second team and Jason Bosley worked with the ones with Cope out of action.

Jason Bosley prepares to snap to quarterback Brandon Cox.

*Each of the field goal kickers was 3-4 to end the practice session. John Vaughn made his kicks from 26, 42 and 49 yards with a miss at 37. Zach Kutch was good from 26, 37 and 49 with a miss at 42. Matt Clark made his kicks from 26, 37 and 42 and missed from 49.

Tiger Ticket Extra: Auburn verbal commitment, linebacker Marshall Williams of Southwest DeKalb High in Decatur, Ga., watched the whole Saturday practice. "I had to come over and check out the competition," he said with a smile. Williams is one of 12 high school seniors who have committed to sign with Auburn in February...Another prospect named Williams watched the practice, too. Cornerback Ryan Williams from B.C. Rain in Mobile checked out the action. He is considered one of the state's top high school seniors...Also in attendance is's No. 3 rated kicker prospect in the country, Jordan Means of Hoover...One of the state's top offensive line prospects, Jared Cooper from W.S. Neal in Brewton, watched the workout. He was a standout in an AU summer football camp...Auburn verbal commitment Ryan Pugh of Hoover watched the practice. The offensive lineman starts his preseason drills on Monday...Defensive lineman Sean Dailey and his father, former Auburn defensive end standout John Dailey, watched the practice.

2006 Inside the Auburn Tigers Auburn Football Guide

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