Football Coaches Not Happy With Practice

Comments from Tommy Tuberville and his offensive and defensive coordinators plus practices news are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--The first practice following a nearly two-week layoff for spring break irritated offensive coordinator Tony Franklin and his counterpart on defense, Paul Rhoads, was not exactly pleased either.

Practice 11 of 15 spring sessions for the Auburn football Tigers marked the return to action of injured offensive players Ben Tate (hamstring) and DeRon Furr (arm). Franklin notes he wasn't impressed with what he saw out of tailback Tate or quarterback Furr on a day when the coach had little good to say about his offense.

"He didn't look like the guy I saw in the bowl game," he says of Tate, who is expected to play in Saturday's A-Day game. Franklin notes that early high school graduate Furr is way behind the other QBs after missing much of the work this spring and being injured in the opening scrimmage.

Commenting on the big picture, Franklin says, "It was exactly what I expected and didn't want--spring break layoff, no telling what they did, I don't want to know. Hopefully, my children weren't around them. I am sure they had a nice time.

"They are back and they look like they haven't done anything since they left so it is about what I expected," Franklin adds. "It was a really a poor job on my part getting them prepared for today to go out there so they looked like crap."

Franklin notes the practice wasn't totally a washout on his side of the ball. "The skelly part today was good, the red zone skelly part was really good today, probably the best we have ever done down there."

Rhoads, who sent the defensive players through grass drills during and after practice, says, "I wouldn't necessarily say that I wasn't real happy. Part of that (grass drills) was planned, we just had to add a little bit to it because of some extracurricular activity that did not take place or did take place, however you look at it.

"It was a big challenge for these kids today to come off practicing March 12 and come back on March 25 and pick up right where they left off. There were some signs that they did that and some signs of rust that were certainly expected. In our profession you just don't tolerate it though no matter if you expect it or not."

Head coach Tommy Tuberville was in a better mood than his coordinators following practice and called the session "a pretty good day."

"We moved Savage (cornerback Aairon) above Walter McFadden," Tuberville says. "He has done a good job for us and we felt like it will make a little more competition there. It wasn't what McFadden did, it is what Savage was doing. He was getting better and better. Moving him from safety, it took him a while to catch on, but there will be a battle there and we will need more than two or three corners anyway. It is good to see some competition in that area."

Return starting offensive tackle Ryan Pugh worked at center on Tuesday. "We are trying to get Pugh a good look at center because next year he is probably going to get some opportunities," says Tuberville, who notes that Andrew McCain got to work with the first group at right tackle as did Mike Berry, who in the previous spring practices worked as the number two center behind senior Jason Bosley.

Andrew McCain looks for somebody to block at Tuesday's practice.

Another returning starter on the offensive line has still not been cleared to practice. "Chaz Ramsey is still down with his back a little bit, Tuberville says of the sophomore guard. "He is getting better. He won't be back this spring. Hopefully, he will be back for the next two-a-days (in August). He has worked hard to get back out there."

A player who has been sidelined much of the spring, senior tailback Tristan Davis, had his foot stomped on early in spring drills after breaking bones in it twice last year. Coaches were hoping he would be back to full speed on Tuesday, but that wasn't the case.

"He still can't push off as much as he would like," Tuberville says. "Being a running back, he needs to be full speed."

Quarterbacks Kodi Burns and Chris Todd shared the duties with the first team offense on Tuesday and that is the way it will stay the rest of the spring says Franklin, who also serves as the QB coach. The players are co-number ones and Neil Caudle is three ahead of freshman Furr.

In other news:

*The Tigers will be off from practice on Wednesday, but will be back at 7 a.m. on Thursday and will practice again on Friday afternoon prior to Saturday's 1 p.m. A-Day Game.

*Defensive end Antonio Coleman could be back at practice on Thursday, Tuberville says. He has to have one more checkup before final clearance on his cervical sprain suffered in scrimmage one.

*The Tigers won't wrap up spring drills with the A-Day Game. They will scrimmage again on Wednesday night the following week.

*Wes Byrum struggled kicking field goals to end practice on Tuesday. He was just 1-4 with the good one from 32 yards out. He was wide from 37, 42 and 47.

*Franklin has previously praised the play of Tommy Trott at tight end and says that another player at that position, junior Gabe McKenzie, is making progress and "has really improve."


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories