Injuries Continue To Mount For Tigers

Injuries are beginning to take on toll on Auburn's preseason camp.

Auburn, Ala.--Preseason football camp is always a time when injuries come to the forefront because of the physical nature of the practices and the number of workouts in a short period of time. This year has been no different for the Auburn Tigers as players continue to be beat up with another key player going down in Sunday night's practice.

One of the few offensive linemen with game experience coming back for the Tigers, center Jason Bosley went down Sunday night with what Coach Tommy Tuberville said appeared to be a knee injury. The severity of the injury wasn't known but Tuberville said they should know something soon on the Huntsville native.

"We don't know about him," Tuberville said. "They'll check him out and see what happens. I didn't see it. They said it was a knee."

His injury wasn't the only one on the offensive side of the ball as redshirt freshmen quarterbacks Steven Ensminger and Neil Caudle both missed Sunday's practice. That opened the door for Blake Field and Kodi Burns to get additional reps at practice and Tuberville said he's not sure when either will return.

"Steven Ensminger came out and tried to throw but he couldn't throw, his shoulder is banged up," Tuberville said. "Neil, they are going to take him to the doctor tomorrow or Tuesday. He's got a slight separation. It will be at least four weeks or so. They'll make a decision on what to do. It's a shame. He was doing real good. It's just unfortunate."

Added to the injury list on Sunday were both Merrill Johnson and Gabe McKenzie. Tuberville said Johnson has a bruised knee but is fine and will return to practice on Monday. McKenzie has a tight hamstring according to Tuberville and was held out so the Tigers could get a longer look at true freshman Bailey Woods. Senior guard Leon Hart missed the practice with an ankle sprain.

With Montez Billings (hamstring), Jermarcus Ricks (hamstring), Tez Doolittle (out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon), Ryan Shoemaker (groin), and Andrew McCain (concussion) just some of the injuries to this point it could be worrisome for a coach but Tuberville said it's not any different than he's seen every year in coaching.

"It's about the same," Tuberville said. "This time last year we had a full page and a half of injuries. This year it's about three-quarters of a page. We've got a couple of that obviously aren't going to be back. That's always concerning. The closer you get to games guys always get healthier. You've got to do it. We're a physical team and we're going to keep on keeping on. We're not going to change anything. Hopefully we can get some guys back."

Ryan Pugh worked with the first team after Bosley's injury.

With Hart out of the lineup the job at right guard with the first team went to Mike Berry with Antwoin Daniels moving back to work as the first team right tackle after working on the left side behind King Dunlap in recent practices. When Bosley went down, true freshman Ryan Pugh stepped in with the first team offense and finished out the day.

While the offense was busy piecing together guys to get the job done in Sunday's practice, the defense did some of the same at linebacker as Craig Stevens and Courtney Harden both worked on the weak side with Johnson out. That put Bo Harris getting some time with the first defense on the strong side where he looks very comfortable.

Up front tackle Zach Clayton appears fully recovered from a neck injury that limited him for several days this week. He was again a terror in pass rush drills and dealt fits to anyone lined up in front of him.

Zach Clayton works in a defensive line drill on Sunday night.

In the secondary the story was Jerraud Powers. Coach Will Muschamp has talked about finding playmakers and Powers continues to step up in that role as he intercepted two Brandon Cox passes on the night, the first in 7-on-7 work and the second in team drills. He almost made it a trifecta during goal line work as his attempt at a one-hand grab in the back of the endzone was just too much to pull off.

With Monday's only practice scheduled for 6 p.m. and the final day of two-a-days on either Wednesday or Thursday, preseason camp is almost complete as the Tigers will move to the practice fields beginning Friday. Tuberville said they still have plenty of work to do after watching Saturday's scrimmage but he likes the effort he's seen to this point.

"We've got a lot of work to do after the scrimmage," Tuberville said. "We're young in a lot of areas and had a lot of mistakes mentally. We had a lot of good effort but we gave out about halfway through, which is normal. We've got a chance to continue to get better."

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