A Pair Of Tigers Injured At Monday Practice

A report from Monday afternoon's football practice is featured.

Auburn, Ala.—A pair of injuries put a damper on the end of Monday's practice, the first in shoulder pads and helmets this August. Cornerback Aairon Savage injured his right knee and receiver Charles Olatunji injured his left shoulder in a matter of seconds near the end of the two and half hour session.

The extent of the injuries is not yet known. On Monday morning Coach Tommy Tuberville said the injury was still being evaluated.

"It was the first day of shoulder pads and we had some pretty good contact," Tuberville says. "We had a couple of injuries–one shoulder and one knee. I don't know any specifics. We'll know more tomorrow (Tuesday)."

Savage was in coverage down field against Rod Smith when he came down awkwardly. He was carted off with a cast on his right leg shortly after.

"They took him over (to the training room) to evaluate him first," Tuberville explains. If they feel the need to (take him to the hospital) they will. He said he just came down wrong and twisted it a little bit. He had a little pain down there, but you don't want to speculate good or bad.

"We're going to have to play some young guys anyway," he adds. "We can't afford to lose anybody, especially a guy with that experience."

Olatunji and Neiko Thorpe went after a pass down field and both left their feet. Olatunji landed on his shoulder and Thorpe landed on him, causing Olatunji to roll over in pain as Thorpe came up with the interception. Olatunji walked off the field under his own power while getting attention from the trainers.

Michael Goggans was held out of all contact because of "bruised ribs" according to Tuberville.

For the second straight day DeRon Furr was absent from practice. Asked if Furr had been in contact with the coaches, Tuberville responded, "Have not."

Finals for summer classes are being taken this week, but most of the players were in attendance at Monday afternoon's practice.

"I think we had a couple miss today," Tuberville said. "We'll have about half a dozen tomorrow. Thursday we should be free and clear." The Tigers start two-a-days on Thursday.

For the most part, the first half of practice was spent on special teams and working on fundamentals with position coaches before getting into contact for the second half.

"We've just got to learn how to practice with so much time left," Tuberville notes. "When we get to the first game, we'll have had plenty of contact. It'll slow down a little bit tomorrow. We had good intensity. I thought the offensive and defensive line really competed well."

In one-on-one pass rushing drills, Antoine Carter was able to get to the QB at will. Lee Ziemba didn't have one of his better days at left tackle, but Ryan Pugh won all of his battles at right tackle. In perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the day, Tyronne Green won two of three against Sen'Derrick Marks.


True freshman defensive end Jomarcus Savage has looked impressive. He went against Ziemba in pass rush and put the offensive tackle flat on his back.

There were several impressive pass and catch plays on Monday. Tommy Trott grabbed one out of the air with one hand while toeing the back of the end zone. Brad Lester also had an impressive one-handed catch out of the backfield as Barrett Trotter escaped the pocket.

The quarterbacks looked sharp for the most part on Monday. Chris Todd showed his impressive knowledge of the game with a deep throw to Darvin Adams. Against a blitz, Todd took the snap and immediately threw it to a spot on the deep corner of the field with a ton of air under the ball. Equally impressive, Adams caught it in stride over the shoulder for a touchdown.

"I watched the receivers and they were really catching the ball well," Tuberville says. "They were catching better than they have in a long time. We've just got to keep getting better and get more consistency. We'll start doing more team drills when we get to two-a-days on Thursday."


Craig Stevens fights through a block from Ziemba to get to Lester.

The Tigers wrapped up practice with Wes Byrum and Morgan Hull making all of their field goals, though Byrum caught a pair of lucky bounces on one kick. It hit the upright then the crossbar before falling through.

"We had a good start to our kicking game," Tuberville says. "I thought our punters did good and our field goal guys did good. You can tell they've worked hard all summer and they were a little nervous going into today."

The Tigers are scheduled to practice on Tuesday at 4:15 p.m. at the intramural field.


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