Tigers Give Crisp A-Day Performance

A report with quotes, notes and statistics is featured on Auburn's spring football game.

Auburn, Ala.--All things considered, Auburn's A-Day Game seemed to turn out well for the Tigers.

First, and perhaps foremost, there were no significant injuries in the football game that ended with a score of 30-14 in favor of the Blue team.

Second, and rarely seen in a spring game, was a lack of sloppy play. There was just one penalty in the contest and just one turnover.

Third, and also important for the prospects of success this fall, the only returning quarterback with experience, sophomore Kodi Burns, stepped up with by far his best performance of spring training.

Burns completed 14-21 of passes for 142 yards with one TD and did not throw an interception. That was enough to earn MVP honors on Saturday as a crowd estimated at 35,000 watched the action. Not counting sacks, he netted 27 yards on running plays.

The other quarterbacks had solid performances, too. Chris Todd, the juco transfer who is battling Burns for first team status, completed 18-27 passes for 190 yards with one score.

Neil Caudle, the third team QB, completed 10-18 passes for 50 yards with one touchdown and rushed twice for 15 more yards. He did have the only turnover of the game when middle linebacker Josh Bynes intercepted a Caudle pass and went the distance for a touchdown from 48 yards out. Interceptions have been the redshirt sophomore's biggest problem this spring, offensive coordinator Tony Franklin notes.

Franklin promised to keep the game plan on offense simple and that was the case as tight end Tommy Trott and Todd noted the Tigers kept it simple. The same was true on the other side of the football. "We will probably run more of our offense in our scrimmage on Wednesday," Todd said. Trott agreed and said he thought it was a productive day on offense despite being close to the vest.

Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads noted the Tigers kept it simple on defense, too. "Like most coaches in spring games, we didn't want to give away too much and we kept it vanilla--no, make that pure vanilla," Rhoads said.

Safety Mike McNeil had the most tackles in the scrimmage with nine, including eight solo stops. Tray Blackmon was next with four solos and three assists while Craig Stevens had four solos and one assist.

"I think we are making progress on defense," Blackmon said. "We should have a good linebacker group this year."

As expected, the scholarship running backs didn't see much action. Ben Tate carried the ball fives times for 22 yards, but scored twice on sweep plays. Walk-on Jeremy Anderson was the leading rusher with five carries for 37 yards.

Tristan Davis carried the ball five times for 17 yards, but first stringer Brad Lester was held out of action after already having proven himself this spring.

Other items of note in Saturday's A-Day include:

James Swinton, one of the more improved players this spring, continued that trend with four catches for 55 yards.

*Robert Dunn led all receivers with five catches for 69 yards with two touchdowns.

*Wes Byrum made his only field goal try from 40 yards out. Backup Morgan Hull got a shot from 41 yards out and was wide.

*Walk-on punter Clinton Durst, a redshirt freshman from Destin, Fla., was named special teams MVP as he put on a show Saturday, something he has done in practice throughout the spring. He averaged 48.3 yards on three punts. Ryan Shoemaker, the returning starter, averaged 43.5 on three punts and Patrick Tatum struggled with four punts for a 38.3 average with several line drives.

*Rodgeriqus Smith, who has had a quiet spring, caught five passes for 55 yards. Trott, who has been busy this spring, caught five

*Wideout Chris Slaughter caught a touchdown pass in his three receptions for 44 yards.

*True freshman QB DeRon Furr made his first appearance late in the third quarter. he threw six passes and completed two for 12 yards.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville said, "It was a good effort. It was a great crowd. I appreciate the fans coming out. It was a hot day."

Linebacker Chris Evans knocks a pass away from tight end Gabe McKenzie as linebacker Josh Bynes (17) runs in to make a play.

The Tigers have one more spring practice left and will use it to scrimmage on Wednesday. "We will have a little bit more in terms of the offense run with play action, running ball and throwing the ball down field," Tuberville said of what he is expecting on Wednesday evening.

The A-Day Award winners include:

*Shug Jordan Award--Cole Bennett won the award that goes to the outstanding senior based on athletic performance, character and scholarship.

*Ken Rice Award--Tyronne Green was named the outstanding blocker for the 2007 season.

*Pat Sullivan Award--QB Brandon Cox was named the top offensive player for 2007.

*Zeke Smith Award--Jerraud Powers was named the 2007 top defensive player.

*Mike Kolen Award--Josh Thompson won the honor as the team's leading tackler in 2007.

*Eddie Welch Attitude and Effort Award--Tommy Trott won the spring award on offense and Sen'Derrick Marks picked up the honor for the defense.

*Pat Dye Leadership Award--Center Jason Bosley won the spring award.

*Most Improved Offensive Skill Player--Terrell Zachery won the spring honor.

*Most Improved Offensive Lineman--Offensive guard Lee Isom received the spring award.

*Most Improved Defensive Lineman--Redshirt sophomore end Michael Goggans took home the award.

*Most Improved Linebacker--Senior Chris Evans was honored.

*Most Improved Defensive Back--Cornerback Walter McFadden was honored.

*Offseason Conditioning Award--Defensive end Antonio Coleman, who did not play in the spring game due to a cervical sprain, won the honor.

*Top Freshman Grade Point Average--Walk-on linebacker Wade Christopher won the award.

*Most Improved Grade Point Average--Tight end Tommy Trott.

*Top Overall Grade Point Average--Senior Jason Bosley.

Statistics

Rushing--Jeremy Anderson 5-37; Anthony Jemison 7-36; Jason King 4-35; Mike Gibson 7-23; Ben Tate 5-22, 2 TD; Davis Hooper 5-19; Tristan Davis 5-17; Neil Caudle 2-15; Kodi Burns 8-3; DeRon Furr 4-(-8); Chris Todd 5-(-37).

Passing--Chris Todd 18-27-0, 190, 1 TD; Kodi Burns 14-21-0, 142, 1 TD; Neil Caudle 10-18-1, 50, 1 TD; DeRon Furr 2-6-0, 12.

Receiving--Robert Dunn 5-69, 2 TD; Tommy Trott 4-55; Rodgeriqus Smith 5-55; James Swinton 4-45; Chris Slaughter 3-44, 1 TD; Mike Gibson 3-21; Vincent Cook 4-20; Quindarius Carr 3-19; Anthony Jemison 4-19; Terrell Zachery 1-13; Brad Lester 1-8; Charles Olatunji 2-8; Jason King 2-6; Brent Slusher 1-6; Montez Billings 1-4; Davis Hooper 1-2.

Punting--Clinton Durst 3-48.3; Ryan Shoemaker 4-43.5; Patrick Tatum 4-38.3.

Field Goals--Wes Byrum 1-1 (40 yards); Morgan Hull 0-1 (41 yards).

Returns--Josh Bynes 48 interception return for TD.

Tackles (Solos/Assists)--Mike McNeil 8-1; Tray Blackmon 4-3; Courtney Harden and Jacob Shirey 5-0; Chris Evans and Wade Christopher 3-2; Brian Summerhill (2-3); Zac Etheridge, Jerraud Powers and Zach Clayton (3-1); Merrill Johnson (2-2); Josh Bynes, Michael Goggans and Jonathan Vickers (3-0); Sen'Derrick Marks and Mike Slade (2-1); Jeremy Flowers (1-2); Ryan Williams, Matthew Sample, A.J. Greene, Ryan Williams, Ryan Burse and Da'Shaun Barnes (2-0); Brett Carr, Brian Anyadike, Luke Farmer and Adam Herring (1-1); Aairon Savage and Walter McFadden (1-0).


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