Tuberville And Franklin Pleased With Day One

Auburn took to the practice field for the first time on Saturday as they get ready for the 2008 football season.

Auburn, Ala.--The first practice of 2008 is officially in the books for the Auburn Tigers as the full squad worked out for nearly three hours on a warm and muggy morning on the Plains. Coach Tommy Tuberville said that the day went well for his team as they get a new season underway.

"It was a good first day," Tuberville said. "We got a good start. We were probably out here a little too long but we wanted to look at more of the younger players as the day went along. We're going to try to rest some of the starters tomorrow and some of the guys that have been out here. We've got to make a decision pretty quick on some of the younger players.

"You can tell the sun got to some of them pretty quick," he adds. "The ones that didn't work as hard during the summer usually show up a lot quicker on the injury report. It's hot and humid, but everybody else across the country is doing it and we're going to put our time in."

In shorts and helmets for the first day, it's usually a time for the offense to work on tempo while the defense works on fundamentals and alignment. Tuberville said because of that he got a better feel for the offense on Saturday and was pleased by what he saw.

"The defense can't do a whole lot right now," Tuberville said. "We've got a good bit of our defense in. Offensively it was good. Our quarterbacks threw the ball well today. All of them did. I was surprised how Kodi (Kodi Burns) has gotten much better throwing the ball. Chris's (Chris Todd) arm is stronger. Neil Caudle threw the ball well and Barrett Trotter threw the ball well. Their arms will go and come through the next week. We'll have to do a lot with them to get them ready to go."

Defensive tackle Mike Blanc gets instruction from Don Dunn on Saturday.

While Tuberville was pleased with what he saw, the ultimate judge and jury for the offense is coordinator Tony Franklin. Working the offense at a rapid pace, he said for him the first day went about as well as could be expected.

"It was good," Franklin said. "I thought the tempo was good. Some guys made some plays. The young kids were exciting to watch. I watched some of them get after it a little bit. I was very encouraged."

The quarterback coach in addition to his duties as coordinator, Franklin agreed with Tuberville about the play of his quarterbacks. He said while there will be some tired arms in the coming days from getting about 200 reps each in practice, he said so far things are on schedule with the group as a whole.

"I haven't seen the numbers yet but I think they were probably pretty good percentage-wise," Franklin said. "I think they did a good job. They are where they should be, we've just got to get them better in the next three or four weeks. They're not bad."

One player that wasn't in attendance on Saturday was sophomore offensive guard Chaz Ramsey. Tuberville said they are taking things slow with him after his off season back problems and he's hoping to get him back on the field soon if everything goes well.

"He's just going to be on and off with what he can and can't do right now," Tuberville said. "We've got to get the soreness out of his back. He's going to be fine. It's kind of like Marcus McNeill in that we've got to get him into a routine and this is not the kind of routine out here we want to get him in. This field is hard. He's been through it. We need to let the younger guys go right now."

Also missing was true freshman defensive lineman Andre Wadley. After suffering a heat related problem during summer workouts, Tuberville said they are going to ease him back into things once he's cleared to get back with the team. On the injury front Tez Doolittle practiced some but is bothered by a sore hamstring. The same is true of junior defensive end Antonio Coleman, who did some light practicing before heading to the sidelines for rehab work.

The Tigers will take part in Fan Day at the coliseum from 3-5 on Saturday afternoon before returning to the practice field at 4:45 on Sunday.

Darvin Adams

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Several of the young players had good first days for the Tigers, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Barrett Trotter threw the ball extremely well and displayed a strong arm. Running back Eric Smith displayed the trademark good hands he is known for and also a knack for making a cut at full speed. Still about 10 pounds over where the coaches want him to be heading into the fall, Smith noted he should be able to reach that goal easily.

At the wide receiver position all three newcomers showed signs of athleticism and hands. Tall Darvin Adams has a good burst and catches the ball well. Phillip Pierre-Louis caught the ball very well and made several nice moves in traffic. Derek Winter displayed good hands and route running while also making a circus catch for a touchdown during one-on-one drills.

Defensively Raven Gray was very pleased with his first day of the ball. After knee surgery last December kept him from going full speed in the spring, Gray said it felt good to get back into action once again.


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