Thursday Practice Notes

Notes and news from Auburn's final open practice held Thursday afternoon.

*Thursday afternoon's practice was the last open practice for the Tigers this year. On Friday the team will move to the practice fields behind the football complex for the last two-a-day practices of the preseason. Coach Tommy Tuberville said they were ready to move and there's just not enough room on the practice fields to keep them open.

*The Auburn Football Lettermen's Club was at practice on Thursday with their annual watermelon feast for the players, coaches, etc. It's an enjoyable day for everyone involved and the winner of this year's eater of the year goes to wide receiver James Swinton who stayed around for about 20 minutes loading up.

*A player that hasn't gotten a lot of talk but has improved tremendously is redshirt freshman safety Mike Slade. Moving from cornerback, Slade said he's up to 193 pounds and feels good about the physical part of his game heading into the year. He's currently running as one of the second-team safeties for the Tigers.

*On another physical note, sophomore defensive end Antoine Carter said on Thursday that he's up to 254 pounds after weighing 225 last year. He said the extra weight has given him confidence in playing the run after getting run over some last year as a true freshman.

* Auburn practiced for just over two hours in their final practice of August on the intramuaral fields. All of the players seemed excited to not have to practice on those fields again as the remainder of the practices will be at the football complex.

* There was no contact on Thursday as punt cover and punt return were the focus of the first half of practice. The team spent the second half of the practice split between offense and defense working on plays.

* Punter Clinton Durst had a few booming punts. Working on pooch kicking, he had one hit inside the five and die around the seven. Ryan Shoemaker had a pooch downed by Drew Cole at the one-yard line.

* While the special teams did their work, Tony Franklin worked with the offensive line on screens. Franklin actually acted as a receiver and looked fine catching the football. He was a running back at Murray State about 30 years ago.

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