Rain Forces Change of Venue for Practice

Greg Knox and Don Dunn recap Auburn's Wednesday morning practice at the athletic complex.

Auburn, Ala.—Auburn practiced for two hours on Wednesday morning on the turf field at the football complex rather than the intramural fields because of heavy overnight rain and a drizzle through the first half of practice.

Working out in full pads, the Tigers had limited contact in the first of two practices scheduled for Wednesday.

"We're taking a step forward," outside receivers coach Greg Knox says. "It was a small step today. It's a good thing we've got one more practice this evening and try to take a bigger step forward. Right now it's about doing the details. That's what we're focusing on and what we're concentrating on. We want to make sure we get all of the details done."

The offense and defense were split for a good portion early in the practice. The offense did its typical mesh drills while the defense worked on fundamentals like alignments and recovering fumbles.

"I thought it went good," defensive tackle coach Don Dunn adds. "I was a little worried with them being tired. We had a late walk through last night on defense. They didn't get out of here until after nine o'clock on defense. We came back early this morning and the weather was kind of bad. We changed from over there (intramural fields) to over here (practice fields), but I think it kind of picked them up. I think they had a good practice.

"I was worried because there wasn't a lot of noise in the meeting room," Dunn continues. "They were kind of moving slow but once they got here they responded and that's what you've got to have. I think the seniors kind of took over, especially the linebacker group. I thought they had an excellent day getting us going. That's what you've got to have. They've got to be your generals."

A pair of young players, receiver Chris Slaughter and cornerback Neiko Thorpe, made several plays in all of the passing drills. Knox singled out Slaughter when asked about the progress of the offense.

"I think we're getting better," Knox explains. "I'm really enthused about the play of Chris Slaughter. He's making big plays. He's really coming along. I think he's starting to mature as a person and it's showing up as an athlete. He's done well. Everybody has been steady and I think we're getting better outside."

Thorpe had an athletic interception in one-on-ones thrown by Kodi Burns that was intended for Terrell Zachery. He also made an impressive pass breakup in the end zone, jumping high into the air and falling backward in seven-on-seven.

However, in 11-on-11 Thorpe got beat deep down the sideline by Slaughter.

"We had a couple of talks this summer," Knox says of Slaughter, "but as he got out here and we started going through fall camp he got energized by making some plays. He made some big plays, and I think that the pats on the butt have helped him. He's been enthused by his teammates congratulating him so I think that started it. It's just carrying over now. He's gaining more confidence each and every day."

Thorpe, #9, is having a good second week of camp.

Knox adds that the difference for Slaughter between a much less productive freshman debut and preseason camp as a sophomore has been, "Him learning the system last year and slowly adjusting to the life of college. Being involved in everything, I think that was a big, big adjustment for him. Now after being around it a while and being in the program, he's learning how we need him to work."

Slaughter is listed as No. 2 at ‘X' behind another player hoping to have a breakthrough year.

"(James) Swinton is probably having the best camp of anyone out there," Knox notes. "He's working hard, he's doing all of the little things that we ask him to do, he's been technique and fundamentally sound. Overall he's probably having the best camp. I'm proud of him going into this senior year. It seems like he's ready to take advantage of it."

The first scrimmage of August was last Saturday with the next scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 16. The Auburn coaches have harped on getting better between scrimmage one and two and Knox says that's what he has seen this week.

"Saturday will be a big day for us and we hope to see a major jump between scrimmage one and two," he says. "(The focus will be on) assignments. Not to bust any assignments. Be technique and fundamentally sound."

The second practice of Wednesday is scheduled for 4:15 p.m., but subject to change. Location has yet to be determined.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories