Two-A-Days Come To An End For Tigers

Auburn had its final two-a-day practice of the preseason camp on Monday afternoon.

Auburn, Ala.--A short practice focusing on special teams and two-minute offense and defense brought Auburn's preseason camp to a close on Monday as the Tigers practiced for an hour and a half in shorts and shoulder pads after a long full pads practice earlier in the day.

Coach Tommy Tuberville said the day as a whole went better than Sunday, but it's still not what he's looking for out of his team.

"We're not near as good as we need to be," he noted. "We were a little sluggish. It was a little hot after the sauna we had this afternoon. We did a lot of kicking and did some team. We did two-minute. We still look a lot rusty. We've got a lot of room to catch up to where we were at in spring practice for some reason. We've got a lot of guys struggling with injuries and a lot of guys struggling with the heat. We've got to play in it so we better get used to it.

"It was a little bit better this morning," he added. "I think some guys were embarrassed yesterday and their teammates stepped up which makes it more embarrassing than when coaches jump on you. The team has to come together and it will, but we've got a lot of work to do."

After working on special teams for much of the day the Tigers came together for 11-on-11 work the last 20 minutes of the practice. That featured some very good battles despite the team not being in full pads. The defense held the upper hand on Monday evening as redshirt freshman defensive back Jerraud Powers had a very good day making plays in the secondary.

Offensively, Brandon Cox threw the ball well with several crisp passes to Rodgeriqus Smith and Lee Guess. The offense would have been better, but several dropped passes kept them out of rhythm. Things came together during the two-minute session as Cox and the first-team offense drove from its own 35-yard line to the 20 before failing on a third and long. The second-team offense wasn't as successful as it failed to get a first down to end the session.

That meant it was time for the kickers to take the field under the watchful eye of Tuberville. With the first attempt from 37 yards John Vaughn, Zach Kutch and Matt Clark were all perfect. The same was true from 43 yards. From 48 yards only Kutch made his kick. That set the stage for a pressure kick from 52 yards out. The group had to make two of three to avoid running at the end of practice. Vaughn was up first and he nailed his right down the middle. That was all of the good news as both Kutch and Clark narrowly missed to the disappointment of their teammates.

Not pleased with the effort at the end of Sunday's practice, Tuberville put the Tigers through a long running session to end Monday's second practice as the team ran around a dozen 50-yard sprints that were timed by Coach Kevin Yoxall. Guards Tyronne Green and Leon Thompson struggled to finish the running with Green finally being pulled off by the trainers holding his leg. Thompson was pulled across the finish line the last two runs by defensive tackle Pat Sims.

Linebacker Karibi Dede eyes a punt block on the foot of offensive graduate assistant coach Joe Hollis.

The Tigers will return to their normal practice fields on Tuesday for an afternoon practice that is closed to the public. The team will take Wednesday off for the first day of classes and practice Thursday morning. The Tigers will practice Friday, twice on Saturday and again on Sunday afternoon before taking Monday off. Tuberville said they are looking to pull in the ranks this week as the team begins to gear up for Washington State.

"I just told them it's them versus themselves, it's not them versus us," Tuberville said. "It's hard, football is a hard game. You've got to fight and overcome yourself sometimes. Now we're getting to the easier part. Hopefully we notice the ones that are going to lay it on the line for us and the ones that won't."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Tuberville said that with the absence of Courtney Taylor other wide receivers have been forced to step up and make plays for the offense. Monday the playmakers were easy to spot as Smith and Guess came through with some big catches. Also coming up big was Robert Dunn.

"They've done pretty good," Tuberville said. "We've been a little inconsistent. The problem is that you've got two young quarterbacks throwing it behind them and over their heads and at their feet. They don't know where the ball is coming. I think considering the circumstances they've done a pretty good job. Now they'll start catching most of the balls from two quarterbacks. I think it will help them and their timing will be a lot better. When you're playing 105 guys in a practice trying to look at all of them you're not going to be a well-greased machine. That's one reason now we're a little disappointed in our execution. Hopefully, it will start coming around now that we're going to start working two groups."

Players such as Craig Stevens, Mike Blanc, Zaccheus Etheridge and Mike Berry have made moves during the preseason camp that have them on the verge of making moves on the depth chart. Tuberville said the coaches are going to take a look at things before they hit the field on Tuesday to see if any changes need to be made.

"We're going to have long meetings for the next couple of days," Tuberville said. "We might make some depth chart changes and look at some positions because we don't want to wait until midseason to figure out something is not going to work."

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