Wedesday Evening Football Practice Notes

News and notes from Auburn's Wednesday football practice is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--News and notes following Wednesday evening's Auburn football practice are featured.

*Gabe McKenzie, who made the move this week from tight end to defense, won praise for his work at defensive end today as the Tigers practiced for more than two hours in full pads.

*Juco transfer defensive end Raven Gray will play this season unless he has a setback with his knee injury so right now the plan is not to redshirt him, Tommy Tuberville said Wednesday evening. Gray was injured last fall and tried to come back without having surgery. However, that plan didn't work and he tried

*All players are academically eligible to play fall semester, Tuberville said, including cornerback Ryan Williams, however he is still in Tuberville's "doghouse" and it is unclear when or if he will see game action.

*Freshman wide receiver Darvin Adams is still on the bubble to play this season. The same is true of Derek Winter, another true freshman wide receiver, according to the head coach.

*Senior tailback Brad Lester returned to practice on Wednesday and is expected to start with Ben Tate running number two, running backs coach Eddie Gran said.

*Another tailback, senior Tristan Davis, missed Wednesday's practice with a hamstring problem, but should be ready for the opener, AU coaches said.

*Linebacker coach James Willis says he likes the competition between Merrill Johnson and Chris Evans for the No. 1 spot at weakside linebacker. The coach says look for that battle to continue this week and next week.

Clinton Durst

*Gran, who is in charge of special teams, said that Clinton Durst is ahead of Ryan Shoemaker now for the No. 1 punter job because he is punting with more hang time.

*Senior wide receiver Robert Dunn is running number one at punt returner with true freshman wide receiver Philip Pierre-Louis number two. Pierre-Louis is expected to see action at receiver.

*On kickoff returns, Tristan Davis and Ben Tate are the first two options followed by Pierre-Louis and James Swinton, Gran notes.

*After Wednesday evening's practice, Tommy Tuberville says he was still awaiting word on signee Reggie Hunt's status at the NCAA Clearinghouse. Tuberville said later that Hunt did not get clearance and will go juco at Copiah-Lincoln in Mississipppi. The Tigers hope to get the Daphne High star on campus in two years with three years of eligibility.

*Gran said that he continues to be impressed with freshman Eric Smith and said he will definitely play if he doesn't slack off in practice. Gran said Smith has shown a high level of maturity.


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