Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers finished off two-a-day practices on the Plains with a nearly two hour practice in full pads Wednesday night followed by the traditional watermelon feast for the coaches and players. After a very tough and hot preseason featuring 15-straight days of practices, Coach Tommy Tuberville said the team had a good practice especially considering the number of days in a row they've been on the field.
While Coach Al Borges wasn't happy with the offense as both the first and second offensive units failed to score during the four and two-minute drills at the end of the practice, it was overall an improvement for the offense in terms of making plays in the passing game. After a rough night catching the football Tuesday night, the wide receivers had a solid night with Tim Hawthorne coming on strong with perhaps his best practice of the camp. Catching several nice balls, Hawthorne's biggest play came during the two-minute drill when Blake Field threw the ball under pressure and Hawthorne came back for the catch along the sidelines. Battling for the number two quarterback job, Field had a very good night that included big-time throws to Hawthorne and Mario Fannin.
Up front Coach Hugh Nall continues to shake things up and Wednesday night was no different as he had a different group on the field for yet another practice. This time his hand was forced as Leon Hart and Tyronne Green both watched from the stationary bikes while Mike Berry and Byron Isom got work with the first team offensive line at right and left guard respectively. Antwoin Daniels also got some work at left guard with Lee Ziemba getting the nod at right tackle. Tuberville said he sees some improvement in the front but there is still a long way to go before the first game.
"They're getting better," Tuberville said. "They are still making a few too many mistakes. Lee (Byron) Isom is doing good. Berry as the starting right guard is doing good. Leon Hart needs to get back obviously. He's the guy we're going to kind of place in…once we get their legs back we'll know a lot more."
Antwoin Daniels works against Antonio Coleman.
Defensively the front seven had a big day during team drills as they mixed up fronts to give the offense different looks and were successful the majority of the time. Working with the second team, Antoine Carter continued to show up well in camp as he made several plays in the backfield along with Zach Clayton and Mike Blanc.
Wanting to see the kickers in action with the pressure on one final time in two-a-days, Tuberville once again challenged the kickers to make 3-4 from 43 yards or the team would have to run sprints. Up first, Wes Byrum missed wide right. Next up Zach Kutch made his as did Graham Sutter, setting the stage for Ross Gornall. He missed just left and the team ran 10 40-yard sprints to finish the day. For the night Byrum was 2-3 with makes from 33 and 39 yards before his final miss. Both Kutch and Sutter were perfect and Gornall was 2-3 including the final miss.
All summer the majority of the team was on campus working out with Strength and Conditioning Coach Kevin Yoxall and his staff to prepare for the 2007 season. It was obvious the work paid off as the Tigers didn't have a single heat related problem during the entire 15-day preseason stretch. The decision by the coaching staff and training staff to keep practices out of the heat of the day proved to be a wise one for the Tigers.
The team will take Thursday off for the first day of classes and will return to the practice field Friday night for the second scrimmage of the preseason. The scrimmage is closed to the public.