Wednesday Practice Notes and Quotes

Jonathan Wilhite, Rod Smith, Tyronne Green and Josh Thompson talk about Wednesday's practice and the upcoming season.

Sophomore cornerback Jerraud Powers continues to be the thief of the Auburn defense this preseason as he picked off yet another pass during the mock scrimmage on Wednesday. Fellow cornerback Jonathan Wilhite said that Powers continues to make plays for the defense and he did it again on Wednesday.

"Jerraud Powers had an interception," Wilhite said. "He was with the first team so he had to pick off Cox (Brandon Cox). I don't know (how it happened). I turned my head and he had the ball running the other way. We weren't tackling but I think he would have (scored). He caught the ball on the 20 going in.

"That guy is always around the ball," Wilhite said. "He's what you call a playmaker. He's got great technique and he's a good guy on the field and off the field. He does what he has to do."

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Wide receiver Rodgeriqus Smith said that he feels good about the direction of the offense following Wednesday's practice that included a 78-play mock scrimmage where the ball was moved after every play. The leader of the receiving corps, he said the night went well for the most part on a night when they were focusing on the little things.

"I think we did pretty good as an offense," Smith said. "We just wanted to see a lot of tempo. We wanted it to be like a game atmosphere. I think we accomplished that today. We moved the ball pretty well and ran it pretty well also."

Rod Smith has been Auburn's most consistent receiver this preseason.

With so much shuffling going on among the first and second offensive units, Smith said it's a relief to begin to work mostly with the same guys in practice and it helps them develop some chemistry.

"I think we are clicking as an offense," Smith said. "That's what Coach (Al) Borges and the offensive staff as a whole wants to see. We're getting closer to Kansas State, it's only like a week and a half away. We've been clicking as an offense and I think we'll do well."

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One player that has solidified his spot at the moment on the first team offensive line is junior guard Tyronne Green. Working at left guard, Green has been solid this preseason while much of the right side of the line has been a revolving door until recently. He said because of that it has been tough to come together but he sees that beginning to happen slowly.

"I think we did pretty good," Green said of Wednesday's practice. "The right side is still, I don't know if we have a set right side yet. We're still working on some things but overall we did pretty good. I believe they maintained the ones the whole time (speaking of Mike Berry at right guard and Lee Ziemba at right tackle). That's the starting unit right now from what I see."

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Senior defensive tackle Josh Thompson is one of the leaders of the defense for the Auburn Tigers. Because he's been around and a part of the defense for four years, he said while days like Wednesday don't seem important because it's not a full-scale scrimmage, in the game of football it's always big to work on the little things to make sure you cover all your bases.

"It went pretty good," Thompson said. "It was a little hot out there and the guys were a little fatigued. I think everybody substituted good. It was kind of like a game situation. We got good substitutions. I think we messed up one time but other than that we had good tempo. It wasn't a real physical scrimmage. What it was meant to do was to be a game situation and I think we got it done pretty good."

Working through the healthiest preseason of his career to this point, Thompson said that he's building a very good rapport with fellow defensive tackle Pat Sims up front and he's looking for big things to happen this season on defense and it all starts up front.

"It's developing more and more every day," Thompson said. "Pat is doing a good job. We play off each other and talk to each other. Me and Sen'Derrick (Marks) and Quentin (Groves) played a lot last year together. We've got good chemistry all the way down the line on the front four."

Earlier in the week Coach Don Dunn talked about how the defensive front had changed and now the Tigers were essentially playing a two tackle system instead of having a noseguard and tackle. That didn't last very long though as Thompson said on Wednesday that things are back to normal.

"We actually changed it back," Thompson said. "We were doing the three (tackle) and changing it around to where we would both play it just in case the situation arose where the tight end would trade and I wouldn't have to switch over and play the three-technique and Pat wouldn't have to play the nose without ever playing it. We changed it back now a little bit. It doesn't matter where we play really. We could play the shade (noseguard) or the three either way."


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