Auburn, Ala.--Tuesday morning there were several position moves that dominated the headlines for the Auburn Tigers, but perhaps the biggest and most important news came at the running back position where Ben Tate rejoined practice after missing much of the spring with a strained hamstring.
With Tate, Tristan Davis (foot) and Mario Fannin (shoulder) all out, Brad Lester has carried the load for the Tigers with the help of several walk-ons. Tate gave Lester a little help by participating in the practice. While he's still not full speed, Tate said that it was nice just to get back on the field and participate once again.
"I have been sitting out for a while and it was just fun to get back out there and get a little contact and talk a little trash," Tate said. "It was definitely fun. I love the game of football so I love being out there. When you're hurt you have to watch everybody else have fun."
If you ask Lester he might not say it was a lot of fun. Handling the lion's share of the work, the senior has been solid this spring for Auburn's offense both catching the ball out of the backfield and running. Tate says he had to come back just to keep his good friend from needling him about it any longer.
"He has been whining about it," Tate said. "I make jokes and laugh at him because he's so tired, but I definitely want to get out there and compete."
Already bothered by a high ankle sprain suffered during the bowl game, Tate says that his current injury happened early in winter workouts. Thinking he was ready to go full speed, Tate says he rushed it back on the field and re-injured his hamstring early in the spring. This time around he says he's taking it slow to make sure he's ready to go full speed.
"It was just trying to come back too fast," Tate said of his most recent injury. "The coaches said to just take my time and come back whenever I felt good. I knew that once we came back from spring break I would be ready to go."
Without the ability to get reps on the practice field, Tate has been forced to spend the majority of his time with Auburn's trainers and Strength and Conditioning Coach Kevin Yoxall. He says that the time spent in rehab for his injury along with the position meetings has him as close as possible to where he needs to be this spring.
"You're sitting in on meetings and doing a lot of treatment and working out with Coach Yox," Tate said. "You definitely get some extra weights in while everybody else is practicing. You have to try to keep up on your own. Some things change and you've got to make sure and ask questions so when you get back out there you're not completely lost."
As Auburn prepares for Saturday's A-Day contest, the question remains on whether or not Tate will take part in the action. In listening to coaches Tommy Tuberville and Eddie Gran, they are skeptical on how much Tate will be able to do on Saturday, but Tate says he has no question on his goal for Saturday.
"Of course I'm going to scrimmage," Tate said. "I wouldn't pass that up. I'm almost 100 percent and I feel pretty good. I'm definitely not going to pass that up."