Storm Ends First Two-A-Day For Tigers

A huge storm pushed practice up on Thursday before washing it out completely near the end of the workout session.

Auburn, Ala.--With a pending storm on the horizon, the Auburn Tigers moved up the practice time for Thursday's second practice by almost an hour and it still wasn't enough to escape torrential rains on the Plains. Getting in everything minus the two-minute offense, the Tigers practiced for an hour and a half in shorts and shoulder pads as part of the first two-a-day workout of the preseason. Coach Tommy Tuberville said he's hoping to shore some things up on Friday to prepare for Saturday's scrimmage.

"Two-a-days aren't really what they were over the years, but at least it gives you a chance to go out twice in pads," Tuberville said. "At least some kind of pads where you can get something done. We only have three more two-a-days overall. We got some good practice time in we just need to get a little bit more and work on team and get a few guys back."

On the injury front offensive tackle Lee Ziemba was back and looked to be moving well after being bothered by a bruised knee on Wednesday. Missing the morning practice with a tight groin, running back Ben Tate was also back on the field for the afternoon workout. Also Tez Doolittle took part in some light workouts early in the practice. Tuberville said while Ziemba isn't back to 100 percent, as long as that happens in the coming week he's not concerned.

"He's not full speed," Tuberville said. "We don't need him to be full speed right now. He needs to be full speed in about two weeks. He needs some time. He needs at least one of these scrimmages coming up. We'll decide if it's this Saturday or the next Saturday."

Offensive tackle Lee Ziemba took part in Thursday's practice.

Missing from practice was defensive tackle Zach Clayton (poked in the eye) and center Jason Bosley (twisted back). Tuberville said both should be fine and they're hoping to get Bosley back for Friday morning's practice. Without him Ryan Pugh has worked at center, something Tuberville said may be good for the team in the long run.

"We were going to do that anyway," Tuberville said of Pugh at center. "It gives you a chance to look at Mike Berry too. He's one of our better offensive linemen. He's going to have to play a swing position, guard and tackle on both sides. All the younger guys are getting some good reps. Andrew McCain is getting better. We don't have a lot of numbers, but we have some pretty good depth when it comes to experience."

While the offense continues to work on a variety of formations with Chris Todd and Kodi Burns sharing the duties with the first team, defensively the theme was making plays on Thursday. It started in the morning full pad practice as Jerraud Powers picked off two passes during full team drills, something he said was a long time coming.

"Finally," Powers said. "Earlier I was complaining to Mike (Michael McNeil) on the play before my first pick that I wasn't getting too many balls to make plays. He said ‘it's going to happen, it's going to happen'. As soon as I go out there I get a pick. Then I ended up getting another pick.

"The morning practice was early," he added. "I was just trying to get everybody else going and fired up and let them know we've still got to work to get better even though it's the morning. I was just out there doing my job."

The Tigers will return to the practice field at 9:15 a.m. on Friday for the final practice before Saturday morning's scrimmage. The scrimmage will be closed and Tuberville said he's looking for his team to get in plenty of work while also taking a look at several freshmen on both sides of the ball.

"We just need to get a little more teamwork in, but obviously it's not going to take place probably a little bit tomorrow but hopefully we'll get in around 100 snaps in the scrimmage on Saturday," Tuberville said. "We're trying to get in as much as we can before Saturday so we can see if some of the younger guys, if we can confuse them a little bit."

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Jerraud Powers is always one of the best interviews on Auburn's team and Thursday was no exception. When asked about the young secondary members he said he was happy with how they were competing now they knew they were going to be counted on to play. He said the situation reminded him of his freshman season against LSU when he along with Walter McFadden and Aairon Savage were all on the field in the fourth quarter against the Tigers with the game on the line. He said they got the job done and he thinks the young guys this year will be fine.

Tray Blackmon said that so far the defensive line has performed well in front of the linebackers. He singled out Sen'Derrick Marks, Jake Ricks, Mike Blanc, Michael Goggans and Antonio Coleman as guys that are doing well. He said many of the young guys are also playing well, but what he likes the most is they play hard every play. He added that as long as you play hard good things will happen.

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