Tigers Trying to Get Healthy for Georgia Game

An Auburn football practice report features comments from Tommy Tuberville and Tommy Trott.

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville said after Wednesday evening's football practice that junior Eric Brock is unlikely to be ready for Saturday's SEC football game vs. the Georgia Bulldogs.

"I wish he could play," Tuberville of the starting safety. "He is moving good on it. It is not as bad as we originally thought, but it doesn't look good."

Brock suffered an ankle sprain on the opening series of last Saturday's game and watched the rest of the action from the sidelines.

Another safety who missed all of last week's game, Tristan Davis, is doing better the head coach said. "Tristan Davis practiced real good at full speed. Kevin Sears practiced at full speed." Both of those defensive players are recovering from hamstring problems.

Auburn's coach noted that it was disappointing that the staff had to hold senior tight end Cole Bennett out of practice again on Wednesday. The Georgian had geared his recovery to be ready in time for his final chance to play the Georgia Bulldogs. "He has worked real hard to get back," Tuberville said. "It just hasn't worked out for him."

However, all things considered, it could be worse on the injury front, Tuberville added. "We are in pretty good shape considering the time of year."

With Bennett sidelined that means a pair of redshirt freshmen, Tommy Trott and Gabe McKenzie, will continue to be the main men for the Tigers again this weekend as Auburn faces its oldest rival, the Georgia Bulldogs. Walk-on junior Danny Perry will continue to work as the third tight end.

Trott says that even though Bennett's return could mean less playing time for the freshmen, he is personally disappointed that the senior won't be able to play.

"I know how much Cole wants to be back out there and how hard he has worked in rehab," Trott says. "He has been going at it three or four times a day. He is at all of the meetings and helps us prepare for games each week."

Bennett, a preseason All-SEC selection by the league's coaches who is from Dalton, Ga., is still trying to heal after suffering an ankle injury in the victory over LSU on Sept. 16th. He is able to run and rehab the injury, but can't have football contact.

In Bennett's absence Trott has started seven games and has 10 catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Trott says he is eager to play in the big rivalry game vs. Georgia that will kick off at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

"Last year's was just a great game," Trott says of the 31-30 Auburn victory. "I wasn't there but watched it on TV. It seems like the games with Georgia are always exciting. We are expecting another tough one from them this year."

The redshirt freshman noted that the experience he and McKenzie have had in big games vs. LSU and Florida should help them for what is expected to be an intense game vs. the Bulldogs. "Playing in big games earlier this year really helped, he said.

Tuberville agrees and said that Trott and McKenzie are playing at a higher level than when they first took over for Bennett.

Cole Bennett is shown with Tommy Tuberville.

"They have done a lot better job catching the ball," Tuberville said. "They didn't adjust their routes very good against coverages the first two or three games. They have gotten a lot better. Their blocking is a lot more consistent. It has been good.

"They were getting to play as it was, but now they have gotten a lot more playing time. They are both athletic, which has helped. We haven't had to play (true freshman) Michael Goggans, which is good, too. We came close to playing him. Danny Perry has played four or five plays as our third tight end."

"We had good focus today," Tuberville said of Wednesday's practice. "You can tell we are playing Georgia. The players are into it. We have a lot of guys with a lot of enthusiasm. It makes for a good practice. We worked a lot on the kicking game because we didn't get to do that yesterday in the rain."

In other news from Auburn football:

*Senior Will Herring has been named one of 11 finalists for The Danny Wuerffel Trophy, which is presented to a college football who best combines performance on the field and exemplary community service with academic success. Herring leads the Tigers in tackles with 48 and has 226 for his career. He has 46 consecutive starts, one shy of the school record held by Jeno James.

*Saturday's game will be the final one at Jordan-Hare Stadium for 21 Auburn seniors. A win will give that group a school-record 40 wins during the past four seasons.

*Auburn will retire the school's 26-year-old golden eagle named Tiger during pregame ceremony will begin 25 minutes prior to kickoff. AU officials will also present her successor as War Eagle VII at halftime.

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