"Every time we walk into that stadium for a guy like Ben Grubbs that didn't play last year and spent a year off," Coach Tommy Tuberville said, "he has to do something in front of people. Obviously he'll have to watch it on film the next day; we will practice on Sunday this week. We'll come back and watch all of our film Sunday and get it out the way and then we'll practice Sunday.
"Saturday and Sunday will be a big day for Ben and guys like Kyle Derozan and Will Herring. It doesn't hurt to have those people in the stands to put a little pressure on them with people watching. Tomorrow is a day where they are going to have to think on both sides of the ball and also react. I'm sure those redshirt freshmen will be a little bit nervous going into tomorrow."
Ben Grubbs (right) works against offensive guard Thomas Anderson in Friday's practice.
Running a total of approximately 150 plays Saturday morning with the first, second and third team all seeing action equally, the scrimmage will feature drives starting at different points on the field and lasting as long as the offense gets first downs or scores. Tuberville said they are going to start drives at the 20-yard line going out for the offense and on the 15-yard line going in as well as goal line situations both coming out of the end zone and going in. He said he hopes to see what kind of energy and shape his team will possess after playing several long series instead of practice situations where you only play a couple of plays at a time.
"It's situation but it's also a deal where you're moving the chains," Tuberville said. "We want to make them tired. Last week we went five or six plays and we could go out there and do some of those even though we're not in very good shape (game shape). When you have to go 7, 8, 9 or 10 plays in a row and you're getting tired and all of the sudden you have to think, you put yourself in a little bit of a pressure situation. Then you can really see a lot about somebody."
Practicing for just over two hours in shorts and shoulder pads as they prepare for the scrimmage, the Tigers worked on mental work for the most part with the offense and defense running through the plays and coverages they will employ Saturday morning. The biggest part of the day was spent in half drills with the left and right side of the offense working against half of the defense in pass situations. The drill is something Tuberville said the Tigers have gotten some good information from in the past.
Silas Daniels catches a pass in the half drills Friday afternoon.
"We tried to put guys out knowing that we were either going to throw to them or run to their side or make them pass rush to that side to put them a little bit more under the microscope," Tuberville said. "We call that a PUP drill, pass under pressure, but we also have some runs in it. It's been big for us the last year, it has been our best drill because you can run a half drill and don't have the pileups. That's a drill that we are going to start running more and more of."
Several players will be limited or held out of Saturday's scrimmage as they continue to come back or be hampered by injury. Offensive tackle Ryan Broome had a MRI on his back Friday and the results should be back sometime this weekend after he strained his back in last Saturday's scrimmage. Tailback Carnell Williams had some light contact Friday but is still doubtful to see any action Saturday morning. Offensive guard Monreko Crittenden has been cleared to take part in the scrimmage and will be with the starting unit.
The Tigers will practice Sunday afternoon and take both Monday and Tuesday off before returning to the practice field Wednesday afternoon. Admission to Saturday's scrimmage is free.
Tiger Ticket Extra:
Over 50 high school coaches from around the Southeast were on hand Friday afternoon for the first of a two-day Strength and Conditioning Clinic with Coach Kevin Yoxall and staff. Coaches from as far away as Brentwood Academy and as close as Reeltown were on hand to watch the Tigers practice and then take part in sessions learning about Auburn's system.