Blackmon Ready to Rumble

Redshirt freshman linebacker Tray Blackmon talks about the opportunity to play on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--Linebacker Tray Blackmon, who was suspended for the first half of the season because of an off season alcohol-related arrest, is expected to take the field for the first time in his collegiate career against Florida.

"I've got a clear head and everything has been going straight," Blackmon says. "I've been focusing on class and getting my education part right. Now I can join both together (school and football) and make positive steps to achieving my goals.

"Football is what I do," he adds. "That's what is paying for my education right now, so for me not to be able to go out there and play was hard for me."

Blackmon, who was one of the top recruits in the 2005 signing class, redshirted last season. It has been nearly two full years since he has taken a snap in live game action, but says that he doesn't blame head coach Tommy Tuberville for keeping him out for six games.

"I just put all of my trust into the coaches," Blackmon says. "They have never given me any reason not to trust them. When I came here I gave all of my trust to the coaches and I thought they were going to do the right things with me. If that's how long it took, then that's how long I took.

"I pretty much had an idea of when I'd be back," he adds. "Coach (Tuberville) told me this weekend. He asked if I was ready to play and said that I was coming back, so be prepared. I've been waiting for that call for all this season. Now I'm ready to contribute to the team."


Blackmon has gone through practice at Auburn for more than a year and is ready to take the game field.

For the first time since coming to Auburn, Blackmon took the practice field on Sunday with the anticipation of playing a football game at the end of the week. Making it sweeter for the redshirt freshman is the hype surrounding the match-up with the No. 2 team in the country, the Florida Gators.

"The field looks different," he explains. "Everything looks different out there now and I'm ready to get in there and making some positive moves toward playing and helping the team. It'll be a chance to come back for a big game like this and show what I've got. The crowd will be real loud, TV and everything going on, so for me to be able to stay focused and get through this, that'll be a big step for me.

Blackmon practiced at weakside linebacker on Sunday along with Merrill Johnson, who was making the move from middle linebacker this week. Karibi Dede, who has started every game for Auburn this season at the weakside, was moved to middle following Auburn's poor run-stopping performance against Arkansas.


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