Tigers Gear Up For Saturday Scrimmage

A report of Auburn's Friday morning football practice is featured.

Auburn, Ala.—The Auburn football team went through two and a half hours in full pads on Friday morning in preparation for Saturday's scrimmage, the first of the preseason.

"It was a good practice today," said head coach Tommy Tuberville. "We were out here for a long time–some of them out here for close to three hours, but we're only going once today. It was a good tempo. We worked a lot on our goal-line stuff on offense and defense. It's a little bit different of goal-line defense for us in terms of what we're going to see (from other teams' offenses). I thought it was good work, the guys did a good job and we held in there good with the weather. Now we've just got to have a good scrimmage tomorrow."

Tuberville said that the scrimmage would likely last between an hour and 30 minutes and an hour and 45 minutes.

"Tomorrow we have our mid-term exam in terms of the scrimmage," Tuberville stated. "We've got to get something done and find out where these younger guys are at. We'll have meetings this afternoon and walk-throughs and basically tell them what plays and formations they're going to run on offense. On defense, coverages on that side of the ball. We'll give them a little briefing."

D'Antoine Hood is one of the young players the coaches will be keeping a close eye on.

College football is switching to a 40-second play clock this year similar to the NFL. With the rules change as well as the change to Tony Franklin's no-huddle, fast-paced offense, tempo will be a focus on Saturday morning.

"We've got some SEC officials that will be here and we'll run a 40-second clock for the first time officially the way that it's going to be run, so it'll be a game situation," Tuberville noted.

"We won't run everything we've been practicing," the head coach added. "We just want to see the speed of the game and try to get it going. We've got some kicking game that we're going to do tomorrow."

Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads added that the clock change doesn't do much to his defense. The no-huddle has a bigger impact.

"We're reactive defensively so we've got to respond to their pace no matter what," Rhoads said. "When teams have been no-huddle like our offense and like many other teams across the country, the tempo has been faster anyway. They go to the line and we go to the line. The 40-second clock is not a factor with us because when they go, we go."

Of Friday morning's practice Rhoads said, "I think it was good. We followed off our first two-a-day with a morning practice and sometimes that's hard to do. They were a little groggy-eyed in meetings, but I thought they snapped around and were very focused out here on the field."

True freshman safety Marcus Jemison was injured on Friday while scuffling with redshirt freshman John Douglas. The extent of the injury is unknown. "It's an ankle," Tuberville said. "We don't know yet."

Center Jason Bosley (back) missed practice and is not expected to participate in the scrimmage.

"Bosley won't practice," Tuberville said, "but he's getting better every day. He'll be back the end of next week. It's good to get Ryan Pugh at the center position some because that's the way it's going to look some during the year, and also working Mike Berry quite a bit at right tackle with the first team.

"I don't know who all will practice in terms of injuries," he added. "We'll have to wait and see tomorrow."

With Pugh playing center and Berry moved up to first team right tackle, Bart Eddins has been taking snaps at second team right tackle and has been playing well.

On the defensive line, sophomore Zach Clayton was a star of Friday's practice in his first day back after getting poked in the eye. He was hardly blocked in pass-rushing drills and is competing for playing time with Mike Blanc and Jake Ricks. Sen'Derrick Marks is a preseason All-SEC and possibly All-American candidate, but the other three defensive tackles have put together a solid first week and are all pushing each other.

"I don't look at battles much on the inside because they're going to play 50 percent of the time anyway," Tuberville said. "It's one of those situations where you're blessed to have them each other and trying to make each other better. We're real pleased with their effort and how far they've come since spring practice. Tomorrow will be a good day for them."

Practice wrapped up with Wes Byrum and Morgan Hull kicking from 46 yards to save the team from running wind springs. Both had to make. Byrum squeaked it just over the crossbar and inside the right upright, similar to his game-winning make against Florida (the second kick). Hull bombed his attempt straight down the middle with yardage to spare.

Sen'Derrick Marks, #94, and Jacob Shirey, #56, react to Hull's kick.

Tuberville was asked after practice about the status of Reggie Hunt and also summer semester grades. "I haven't heard anything," he said of Hunt. "It's the typical clearinghouse. You just wait and see what happens."

"We haven't gotten our grades yet," he said of the current players. "We'll probably get those Monday."

The scrimmage is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium and is closed to the public.

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