"Good" Final Practice Before First Scrimmage

Coach Tommy Tuberville says he's looking for improvement out of his team as it prepares for the first scrimmage of the preseason.

Auburn, Ala.--To borrow one of Coach Tommy Tuberville's favorite expressions, the hay is in the barn for the Auburn Tigers as the preparations are in the books before the first full scrimmage of the preseason is set to take place Saturday morning at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

With several players banged up on both sides of the ball, Tuberville says the last few days have been a grind, but that's what two-a-days are all about.

"It was a good practice," Tuberville says. "They worked hard. It was hot and the guys are sore and tired. That will be the only time we go today. We're going to meet, eat and rest. We'll have a walk-through this afternoon to get ready for the scrimmage tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll get something out of that."

The Tigers continue to get beat up as Friday morning defensive tackle Tez Doolittle went down with an injury during pass rush drills. That added to an already depleted defensive line group that had Zach Clayton watching in a non-contact jersey. The good news is that Mike Blanc was back practicing and will be ready to go on Saturday, the head coach notes. Tuberville also says Clayton should also be ready to go. The news on Doolittle however is still to be determined.

"Tez Doolittle turned his ankle and we'll see what happens there," Tuberville says. "We're starting to get a few guys back. There are a lot of guys beat up and sore, but that's part of two-a-days. We've got about five more days and we'll start school and start cranking it down and get ready for the first game.

"He stretched his Achille's and they'll X-ray it," Tuberville adds on Doolittle. "It's more in the back of his foot. He stretched it."

Running back Brad Lester looks for running room in Friday's practice.

Offensively, running back Brad Lester was back practicing on Friday morning after a scare in Thursday night's practice when he was hit in the knee by the helmet of a defensive tackle that fell coming into the backfield. Lester says he's just a little sore but ready to go on Saturday. As for fellow running back Tristan Davis, Tuberville says he'll be out with a nagging injury.

"He's got a turf toe," Tuberville says. "That's part of it. He's had it for a week and finally it got so bad we just had to pull him out."

Going into preseason practice the number one tailback was Lester on the depth chart released by Auburn. After a week and a half of practices, Tuberville says he now considers the job to be wide open with Saturday's scrimmage the first test for the group.

"I don't think we have a number one back right now," Tuberville says. "They are all beat up and sore. We'll have a number one back when we come out of the second scrimmage. They are all about the same…all of them have been beat up and I want to give them a fair shot in the scrimmages."

At quarterback junior Blake Field has once again been bothered by the sore shoulder that hampered him during bowl preparation and during spring practice. Doing no throwing the last two days of practice, Tuberville says Field will be ready to go in Saturday's scrimmage. His absence has allowed freshmen Neil Caudle, Steven Ensminger and Kodi Burns to all get more reps with the second offense.

Safety Michael McNeil returns an interception for the score.

Even so both Caudle and Ensminger turned the ball over during 11-on-11 work as a Caudle pass was deflected into the hands of a waiting Michael McNeil for an easy pick while a rushing Kyle Coulahan took the ball off Ensminger's hand and returned it for a score.

The Tigers will hit the field at around 9:00 Saturday morning for the first big scrimmage of the preseason at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Tuberville says he's anxious to see how some of the players respond to a different environment and a different pressure being put on them. The scrimmage is closed to the public, but coaches and players will be available to talk to fans at 3 p.m. at Fan Day in Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. Before that Tuberville says they have plenty of work to do.

"We're going to try to get about 125 plays to get everybody in," Tuberville says. "It will be more mental than anything to see where we're at mentally and how much some of these young guys can retain because we have some freshmen trying to break in. We want to see their look when they get into the stadium. Whether there is anybody in there or not, it's a little bit different when you go over there.

"We'll run the 25-second clock and SEC officials will be here. We're going to do kicking game. We're going to do it all. We'll just get as much on film as we can and see where we're at."

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