Banged Up Tigers Get To Work For USM

Auburn tight end Tommy Trott and head coach Tommy Tuberville talk about Monday's practice.

Auburn, Ala.--Despite totaling over 400 yards of offense in what Robert Dunn described a toned down offensive plan, the Auburn Tigers got back to work on Monday afternoon with a nearly two hour practice that put the focus on improving the offense and in particular the passing game.

Expected to be one of the main players on that side of the ball but without a catch in the season opener, junior Tommy Trott said while there were plenty of negatives there is also plenty to learn from the opening night victory and that began on Monday.

"Looking back at the game you can't deny we ran the ball well," Trott said. "We ended up running the ball real well, which was surprising. A lot of people had their doubts if we would be able to run the ball. We couldn't throw the ball so we went out there and rushed for 300-something yards. You definitely take your positives from it.

"Another positive is that we're inspired this week," he added. "We're going to have one heck of a week of practice. As an offense we're angry. We're upset about what happened this past Saturday. We're going to go out there and bust it and get that fixed this Saturday."

Tommy Trott

Injuries were the main story of the day for Tigers as they returned to the practice field. With several players banged up in the win including quarterback Kodi Burns, coach Tommy Tuberville said Monday's workout was minus several players the Tigers are counting on for big things this season.

"We had an hour and 45 minute practice in shells," Tuberville said. "We worked a lot on the kicking game. We started putting in the gameplan for Southern Miss. We just tried to work out the soreness after not doing anything yesterday. We had some pretty good contact and the guys worked hard.

"We had several that didn't practice, Kodi Burns being one of them," he added. "He's questionable for this week. The rest of them were A.J. Greene, he didn't practice. (Montez) Billings didn't practice. (John) Douglas didn't practice. We'll have to wait and see how they progress during the week."

In addition to those wide receiver James Swinton also missed Monday's practice with a sore knee. Tuberville said he could return as early as Tuesday. On a positive note both Tristan Davis and Merrill Johnson practiced after being bothered recently with ankle and hamstring problems.

With the quarterback situation up in the air anyway after Tony Franklin said on Sunday they would be handled different in game two than the alternating series plan against ULM, Burns' injury likely gives Chris Todd a chance to make some noise this weekend against Southern Miss. While Tuberville added that Burns' cut leg wasn't any worse, he said that right now it's still a question mark.

"It's real, real sore," Tuberville said. "There were a lot of stitches. It's pretty deep with no swelling. He's a way's away. We'll see how it goes through the night. They don't want him on it right now."

With Billings likely out again this week because of a nagging hamstring problem, Swinton banged up with a knee injury, and speedster Philip Pierre-Louis out for the season with a knee injury, Tuberville said they'll begin to look at several different players at the outside receiver position. Among them are sophomore Tim Hawthorne and true freshman Darvin Adams.

"They're moving guys around," Tuberville said. "We're just trying to get a two-deep at each position. They looked at some things today and they're going to discuss it more tonight to see if they decide to move somebody permanently."

One of the moves that was made on Monday was the move of Robert Dunn out of the doghouse. Dunn said the coaches came to him and told him he was back on the first team at the inside receiver position. Dunn said he's happy to be back with the first unit and is looking forward to making plays.

The Tigers will return to the practice field Tuesday morning to continue preparations for Saturday morning's game against Southern Miss. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and will be shown on Raycom Sports.

Tiger Ticket Extra: Monday was the first day schools can officially offer scholarships to junior football prospects and talk with them on the phone. Tuberville said the Auburn staff has been busy all day calling kids to extend offers. He added that because of the early start to this year's class and with many kids deciding earlier and earlier, it has put a premium on getting as much information as early as possible by the coaching staff.

"You've got to be 100 percent (sure)," Tuberville said about offering early. "We're not going to do it just because somebody else offered a scholarship. That doesn't really make any difference. A lot of times you'll hear ‘they were the first to offer me' but I've heard very few over the years when that made a difference. We want to make sure they're sure and we're sure.

"We've been calling all day," he added. "It's one of those things. You've got to get into it. This will allow us to recruit a lot more for next year, that we've got so many commitments."

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