Tigers Tune Up For First Spring Scrimmage

A report on Auburn University's fourth spring football practice is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers practiced for just under two hours in full pads Friday evening in a tuneup for the first major scrimmage of spring football.

Auburn's head coach, back from his illness that caused him to miss most of the previous two workouts, noted that he wants to see an old-fashioned, physical scrimmage on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"We are looking for mental and physical toughness," Tommy Tuberville said. "We have got to find out who can play tired and beat up a little bit and start executing some things.

"We don't have but two or three running plays in and a half dozen pass plays," the coach added. "The defense is going to have one blitz period, but the rest of the time it is going to be all base--just individual coverages that are not too complex. We want to find out where we are at and where some of these guys stand when it comes to full contact."

The Tigers worked out in full pads in a session that had plenty of contact, including 11 on 11 work, as hundreds of high school coaches watched the action. Those coaches were in town for AU's annual coaching clinic.

The high school coaches saw the Tigers work on kickoff returns, which will be a major point of emphasis this year with all teams having to kick off from the 30-yard line instead of the 35. The new rule is an attempt to have fewer touchbacks in games.

Tailback Tristan Davis, who returned kickoffs last year for the Tigers, is currently the number one return man along with cornerback Patrick Lee. Tailback Mario Fannin is working with the second kickoff return team along with tailback Ben Tate. Safety Aairon Savage is also working as a kickoff returner.

Zach Kutch, who is running number one as Auburn's kickoff man, put his kickoffs very close to the goal line on Friday.

Fullback Carl Stewart makes a block on defensive end Antonio Coleman on a play in which tailback Brad Lester crossed the goal line.

Tuberville said Friday night he is eager to see how the Tigers perform in their first scrimmage of spring training. "We are going to do very little mentally, but we are going to get after it in the scrimmage," he noted. "We will do some kickoffs and kickoff returns, punts and field goals. We are going to have a good 130 to 150-play scrimmage. We have got to find out a little bit physically about some of these guys before we get too much into the mental part of it."

Also Friday, Tuberville said, "It was a good practice. We had a lot of coaches out here today. We kind of brushed up on a few things. We went back to basics a little with our offensive and defensive lines' heads' spinning. Our coaches weren't real pleased with yesterday so we went back to basics."

In other news from Friday's practice:

*Blake Field ran the first team offense most of practice with No. 1 QB taking a late Friday afternoon exam. Cox got to the football complex in time to direct several series with the first offense.

*Tuberville noted that Jermarcus Ricks twisted a knee in Thursday's practice. "He will probably be out for about a week," the coach said. "Dr. (James) Andrews is going to look at it. They might do a little bit more to it, but hopefully it is not too serious."

Freshman defensive end Michael Goggans works against tight end Brent Slusher (35), an early high school graduate who enrolled at Auburn last month.

*Lorenzo Ferguson, wearing a red jersey which means he isn't allowed to be hit, made a nice interception of a deflected pass off of freshman receiver Tim Hawthorne on a rifle pass from Field over the middle that should have been caught. Hawthorne caught a long sideline pass in the 11 on 11 work.

*Redshirt freshman defensive end Zach Clayton had a sack in the 11 on 11 part of practice along with tackle Sen'Derrick Marks.

*Offensive tackles King Dunlap, Andrew McCain, Antwoin Daniels, and Oscar Gonzalez each had some good blocks in Friday's session as they match up against a quick and aggressive defense. Dunlap, a senior, is the only returning starter on the offensive front.

*Saturday's scrimmage will be the fifth of the 15 allotted spring practices. The Tigers will be off on Sunday and Monday.

Friday Practice Notes

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