Saturday AU Scrimmage Notes, Part I

News, notes and quotes are featured as Auburn finished up its first week of preseason football practice with a scrimmage.

Auburn, Ala.--Three weeks before Auburn opens the 2008 football season, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Tim Hawthorne says he is upbeat with the progress the Tigers are making on offense.

"I think we can be really good on offense--like scary good because we are so balanced," the redshirt sophomore says. "With our passing game and our running game, defenses are not going to know what we are going to do.

"I think we have a really great shot of being real good on offense," he adds. "Offensively, we are ahead of where we were the past two years I have been here. That is a sign of better things to come both yardage-wise and points-wise."

After being plagued by injuries the past two years, Tim Hawthorne is hoping for a breakout season.

Hawthorne notes that the offensive installed by coordinator Tony Franklin is making things interesting for the players. "We are having a lot of fun and that's what it is all about," he says. "We go out there and laugh and giggle, but when we step between the lines it is business. We are trying to get better every snap."

In other news:

*Saturday's scrimmage was the ninth preseason practice for the Tigers, who will open the season with an August 30th contest at Jordan-Hare Stadium vs. Louisiana-Monroe, which defeated the University of Alabama last season on a trip to the state.

*Although the Tigers miss not having projected starter Aairon Savage in the lineup, Tommy Tuberville is hopeful that the junior can make a strong recovery after having surgery to repair his ACL this week. Tuberville says he was told the surgery wasn't an easy one, but notes the Tigers are fortunate to have superstar surgeon Dr. James Andrews available for Savage and other Tiger athletes.

*A player the Tigers are counting on this year is redshirt sophomore Mike Blanc, who is making a push for the starting noseguard spot. "I am very excited about my opportunity," he says. "This is the opportunity everybody is looking for. You want the opportunity to start. You want the opportunity to be in the big games. You want to be the guy they count on to make the big play."

Mike Blanc

Blanc was slowed last season by an ankle injury, but has shown strength and quickness this preseason. Blanc got the start at noseguard on Saturday ahead of Jake Ricks, who had an active day playing with the twos.

"I think our defense is looking to become real good," Blanc says. "I think our defense is really together," he adds. "It seems like there is more of a bond this year. We are picking each other up, not tearing each other down. I think we have a lot of potential."

*Defensive line coach Don Dunn notes he has seen signs that Blanc is coming around. "Mike and Jake (Ricks) are having a real good battle," Dunn says. "One day Mike is ahead, another day Jake is ahead."

*With high school practices starting around the Southeast, it wasn't a day for unofficial visits by prospects, but Auburn verbal commitment Johnathan Evans, a linebacker from Blount High in Prichard, watched his brother Chris at the scrimmage.

*There were no injuries in the scrimmage.

*Freshman recevier Philip Pierre-Louis had a strong performance as did freshman quarterback Barrett Trotter, who looked particularly sharp at the scrimmage that included SEC officials.

*The Tigers got through the scrimmage without any turnovers.

*Tommy Tuberville said two young linebackers, Spencer Pybus and Adam Herring, had good scrimmages. They got some work against the No. 1 offense.

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