Dansby Heads List Of Battered Tigers

The injury bug has bit the Tigers with several players hurt and questionable for this weekend's game.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn may be without several of its top defenders, including linebacker Karlos Dansby, when they take on Louisiana-Monroe Saturday for Homecoming on the Plains.

Suffering a sprained ankle in the win over Ole Miss, Dansby didn't practice Tuesday and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said he is doubtful to play against the Indians along with several others on the starting unit.

"Karlos Dansby obviously won't play," Chizik said. "We've shuffled some people around. Right now it just looks like he's probably not going to play in the game. There are a couple of guys right now that might be in the same boat (Spencer Johnson, Reggie Torbor) but he's for sure one of them. We're going to play everybody we can and see what happens."

Karlos Dansby celebrates a defensive stop in Saturday's win at Ole Miss while DeMarco McNeil, Carlos Rogers and Mark Brown watch.

Noting that all should be ready for the Georgia game, Chizik said none of the trio practiced Tuesday while rehabbing ankle and knee problems. On the offensive side of the ball tight end Lorenzo Diamond missed the practice with a sprained ankle and is questionable for Saturday. Center Ben Nowland was banged up in the Ole Miss game as well, but Coach Tommy Tuberville said the senior should be ready to go on Saturday.

"Ben Nowland has a badly sprained thumb," Tuberville said. "It's on his snapping hand and we're very concerned about the swelling. It did swell up quite a bit, but most of the swelling has gone over the last couple of days and he should be fine going into this week's game. We were very concerned about that because he has to handle the ball on every snap."

Because of the injury, Tuberville said the coaching staff is planning on getting guard Danny Lindsey some snaps at center this week against the Indians and playing Troy Reddick at guard. After missing last week's game against Ole Miss with a sore knee, Reddick should be back in action this week.

Splitting practice time between offensive and defensive units indoors Tuesday because of a steady rain drenching the Auburn area, the Tigers worked on the game plan for Louisiana-Monroe as well as continuing to brush up on the fundamentals that need work after the Ole Miss game. Defensively, that meant working on the running game and shoring up execution problems up front.

"We got all we could out of being indoors today," Chizik noted. "We worked a lot on the run fit, just the run game. We got what we could out of the passing game, but it's hard indoors. It was a good practice. They were very much into it and attentive. They had good effort and great hustle. They are preparing to win the game."

With Dansby out of the lineup, Chizik said there are several things they are working on to shore up the defense. A potent offensive team that has a receiver in Vincent Mack who has already caught 58 passes for 953 yards and five touchdowns and a running back (Bryant Jacobs) with 769 yards and five touchdowns, the Indians could be a challenge for an Auburn defense hoping to build on a spotty performance in the Ole Miss game.

"We moved DT (Dontarrious Thomas) around a little bit today," Chizik said. "We just wanted to see how he could grasp what's going on. DT is a very intelligent football player. We looked at being able to play both Derrick Graves and Antarrious Williams at will linebacker. We don't think that will be a problem at all. We're looking at that right now."

Wide receiver Ben Obomanu is expected to be joined on the kickoff returns by fellow freshman Devin Aromashodu this weekend against the Indians. Both have worked at the position all fall and are getting their first opportunity.

While they couldn't work much of the special teams side of things, the Tigers did do some kickoff return work with a couple of new faces back deep. True freshmen Ben Obomanu and Devin Aromashodu have been promoted to first-team kickoff return men for this week's game and Obomanu said that is something he's been waiting on for quite a while.

"Coach had already told me and Devin both that we were going to get a chance sometime in the season so they could start preparing us for next year," Obomanu said. "They were planning on us doing it in the future anyway. I'm kind of excited about just seeing what it feels like to get back there and return some kicks. To finally get a shot to do it in the game is going to be tight."

Obomanu should also enjoy the game plan for Saturday's game, which should feature an expanded section on the passing game. Saying that he's been disappointed in the lack of a passing game this season out of his offense, the Selma native hopes this weekend will jumpstart that part of the offense going into the last two games of the season against Georgia and Alabama.

"We had a meeting and we were working on a lot of passing plays to exploit our talents and little bit and see what we can do," Obomanu noted. "Coach (Bobby Petrino) told us to be ready this week because we're planning to throw the ball a little bit more. One of the things you have to do is work hard this week in practice because now that we have a chance to catch the ball it's important that we step up to the plate and look pretty good."

Kickoff for Saturday's Homecoming and Senior Day game against Louisiana-Monroe is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the game is available on a pay-per-view basis only.


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