AU Sunday Football Practice Notes

News and notes from Auburn's football practice are featured.

*Redshirt freshman wide receiver Alex Rose is in school, but is academically ineligible this season, Tommy Tuberville said on Sunday. The WR from Jacksonville, Fla., was not expected to be in the playing rotation if he didn't have an academic issue.

*Auburn 2007 signee Nick Fairley has still not qualified. His transcript is being evaluated by the NCAA Clearinghouse, Tommy Tuberville said.

*Senior quarterback Brandon Cox noted he has been impressed with how well Chris Slaughter has been catching the football. The true freshman worked with the second team offense on Sunday.

*Cox says he has seen a major confidence boost in the backup quarterback, Blake Field, who was challenged by his coaches to prove he deserved to be the No. 2 guy. Cox says that Field is playing his best football at Auburn.

*Senior guard Leon Hart's ankle injury is worse than originally feared, Tuberville said. The coaches are not sure when he will be cleared to play. He injured it during Auburn's first preseason scrimmage eight days ago.

*True freshman fullback John Douglas will be out for an indefinite amount of time with a high ankle sprain.

*Robert Dunn, Chris Slaughter and Mario Fannin are the three players getting looks as punt returners. On opening night there is a good chance Dunn will get the assignment.

Chris Slaughter

*On kickoff returns Brad Lester and Ben Tate are the likely number one guys for opening night, according to special teams coach Eddie Gran. Mario Fannin, Patrick Lee and Walter McFadden are working a kickoff returners, too.

*Redshirt freshman Mike Berry, who returned to practice on Sunday, is running first team at right guard and is also getting work at center behind junior Jason Bosley and true freshman Ryan Pugh.

Tuberville said this year's freshman class has a chance to be special and that is one of the reasons why so many players are getting a long look at playing this season. On defense Tuberville singled out Antoine Carter, Bo Harris, Brent Slusher and Michael McNeil as players who could play this season. On offense Lee Ziemba, Ryan Pugh and Chris Slaughter are players Tuberville said could get some action as well. On Sunday the coaches announced that true freshman Wes Byrum is backed by up another true freshman, Graham Sutter, a walk-on from St. James in Montgomery.

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