QB Competition to Be Featured in Scrimmage

Comments from Tommy Tuberville and players are featured with practice notes as the Tigers wrapped up two-a-days and prepare for their second scrimmage.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn's second and final major preseason scrimmage before its Aug. 30th football season opener vs. Louisiana-Monroe is expected to feature 80 to 100 plays with the first team offense lining up against the number one defense to start the proceedings.

Coach Tommy Tuberville sent the Tigers through a light workout on Friday evening, the second of the day, to put a finish to the two-a-days portion of practices with the Tigers returning to classes on Monday for the start of the new academic semester.

The competition for the starting QB spot will continue to be in the spotlight on Saturday with sophomore Kodi Burns and junior Chris Todd continuing their competition.

"We are going to play the first two quarterbacks the first half," Tuberville says. "We are going to play Neil (sophomore Neil Caudle) and Barrett (freshman Barrett Trotter) the second half. We are still looking for the third. Obviously, we are still looking for a guy to take over the first.

"We are going to be in some different situations," Tuberville says. "We are going to make the quarterbacks think. We are going to blitz quite a bit, but we did last week. It is no different. We blitz every day in practice. We have a blitz drill of about 16 plays the quarterbacks have to go through that makes it pretty tough on them.

Chris Todd

"We need to take a step up with both quarterbacks this week," Tuberville adds. "We did play pretty good last week, but every week we need to get a little better, and they have worked hard."

In last Saturday's scrimmage the first string defense spent much of the session on the sideline after getting off to a good start. Once again this week, the backups on both sides of the football are expected to get plenty of action so the coaches can make decisions on who will fill out the depth chart. Tuberville says there are about 16 or 17 players who are "borderline" whether or not they will be ready to play this season.

"It's been a good two-a-days," Tuberville says. "It hasn't been the toughest that we have because the weather has cooperated pretty good."

In other news:

*In addition to the 80-100 plays planned for the scrimmage, the Tigers will have a kicking only phase of the Saturday practice at the stadium that features a good competition for the No. 1 punter assignment with Ryan Shoemaker trying to hold off a challenge from walk-on Clinton Durst.

*With the Tigers back at their regular practice fields, Tuberville notes he really likes the condition of the two grass fields.

*Tuberville says he likes the freshman class after watching them in practice for two weeks. "It probably has a lot more speed than we have had with our skill players," he says. He mentioned Philip Pierre-Louis, Darvin Adams, Eric Smith, Jomarcus Savage and Derrick Lykes as guys who have stood. "Lykes, he is huge and getting bigger every day and has great feet. He is exactly what you are looking for in terms of athletic ability. You never how it is going to turn out, but this group here really looks good in terms of athletic ability."

Tuberville also notes that true freshmen cornerbacks Neiko Thorpe, Harry Adams and D'Antoine Hood "have done a real good job of trying to pick up as much as they can and tomorrow will be a big test for those guys." Tuberville adds, "We are probably going to throw the ball a little bit more tomorrow so that will be even more of a test for them."

*Although the scrimmage is closed to the general public, scholarship donors and suiteholders will be guests of the athletic department at the scrimmage. Tuberville will be host for a reception for the suiteholders at his home on Saturday night.

*Newcomer Raven Gray, a juco signee at defensive end, is still struggling to come back from knee surgery, Tuberville says. Another defensive lineman coming back from an injury, sixth-year senior Tez Doolittle, has shown a good attitude, the coach says. "He has really pushed through."

*As was the case last week at the scrimmage, SEC officials will work the session and the new 40-second play clock will be used.

*Tyronne Green, who has received some preseason All-SEC attention at guard, says the offensive line is working at become a smoothly functioning unit. "We are working on building our chemistry," he says. "We aren't where we need to be yet, but we are getting there. I think we will be ready for the first game."

*The coaches are expected to be closely watching the freshman defensive backs in Saturday's scrimmage. Safety Mike McNeil, who saw prime-time action last season as a true freshman, says was of the newcomers has caught his eye. "Neiko Thorpe is definitely catching my eye," McNeil says. "He is a great athlete. We have a lot of athletes, it is just learning the fundamentals and the techniques and understanding the formations and the calls to be able to come contribute."

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