Tigers Gear Up For Saturday Scrimmage

Auburn, Ala.—In preparation for the first scrimmage of the spring, the Tigers had a two-hour footbaall practice in shells on Friday in front of several hundred high school coaches in town for a coaching clinic.

The big news out of week one of the spring is Chris Todd's injured throwing shoulder. He did not throw a pass in Friday evening's session and is not expected to participate in the scrimmage on Saturday morning that is scheduled to begin at 10 o'clock and is open to the public.

"He's not going to practice until he sees the medical people (again)," says offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. "I think it'll probably be next week sometime before he sees them. We're not going to let him throw until we know exactly."

Todd says that he suffered a grade three separation to his AC joint in his right shoulder while playing at Hutchinson Community College last fall.

Also expected to be out of action on Saturday is tailback Tristan Davis, who had his toe stepped on earlier in the week. However, he may be back on Tuesday. Ben Tate may also be held out on Saturday.

"Tristan is fine," notes head coach Tommy Tuberville. "Just real, real sore. He probably won't go tomorrow. Ben Tate, we might have to hold him out (with a sore hamstring). We're going to play Mario (Fannin) some at running back if he doesn't go."

Tailback Brad Lester showed up late to practice because of a class.

Receiver Tim Hawthorne was also injured on Friday and his status is uncertain. "He hurt his arm," Tuberville explains. "They're going to X-Ray it and hopefully there is nothing wrong. Hopefully it's just a bruise. He got jammed between two helmets."

In ideal weather conditions on Friday, the Tigers practiced for nearly two hours in shorts and helmets.

"It was a good practice today with a lot of intensity," Tuberville says. "It always helps to have all of these coaches out here. I guess we had 550 to 600 coaches. It's improving every year and our clinic is getting better.

"Tomorrow we'll have a real good scrimmage and do some kicking game," he continues. "A lot of these guys will be under the gun for the first time. Hopefully we'll get something out of it. It will be a full go tomorrow.

Ryan Pugh and the rest of the offensive line are looking for solid execution on Saturday.

"With this offense we've got a lot of new stuff in," Tuberville adds of the scrimmage. "Hopefully we'll put together some drives. (It's an important scrimmage for) quarterbacks and receivers catching the ball.

"Defensively, it's hard to evaluate these guys until you get to a scrimmage. We'll be looking at defensive tackles and corners. Most of these corners haven't played a whole lot. We've got to find somebody that we have a lot of confidence in."

With Todd being held out, it will be a chance for young quarterbacks Neil Caudle, Kodi Burns and DeRon Furr to get plenty of snaps.

"Hopefully, we'll get somewhere over 150 (snaps)," Tuberville says.

Caudle and Burns had two over their better days on Friday.

"I think I did pretty good," Burns says. "I threw the ball fairly okay, but I feel like I can always improve. I've got to come out and take it like any other practice...just come out and play hard. You can't look at it as a scrimmage. You've got to look at it as ‘I've got to come out here, work hard and try to get better.'"

Zac Etheridge continues to improve at his safety position.

Going for so many snaps while still trying to learn a new defense, coordinator Paul Rhoads says the key aspects he's hoping for is effort and tackling.

"If we played hard every snap and if we tackled well, then we'll catch up with everything else," Rhoads explains. "We want to start to get to 11 that we know we can count on, and then from there 12, 13, 14, etc.

"Coach (James) Willis I think could still play," Rhoads adds, joking about the high number of snaps. "I'm not going to throw Coach (Don) Dunn out there. We'll have enough guys. One thing we don't lack is effort or ethic from anyone in the group. Whether it's somebody jumping in and playing out of position, they'll do that and they'll work harder."

As far as dividing the snaps between the units, Rhoads says he'll leave the first team on the field "as much as Tubs lets me play them."

The Tigers worked on field goal protection on Friday. Missing from the workout was backup kicker Zach Kutch, who had a class to attend, Tuberville says. The head coach notes that there is a good chance that Kutch will transfer to another college after spring semester in hopes of earning playing time with sophomore Wes Byrum the returning starter.

For more information on Todd's injury, Click here.

For more notes from Friday's practice, Click here.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories