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Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday notes

Wrote these last night, but lost my internet connection and didn't get it back till now. so here ya go.

Here are some of the highlights from Tommy Tuberville and everyone else's post-practice comments today.

* I listened to Tony Franklin for about 10 minutes. It was the first time he'd spoken with the pack since like Tuesday of the week before last. I'm sure there will be a ton of stories reminding everyone that he still hasn't announced his pick to start the Louisiana-Monroe game. I led my notebook with that nugget, in fact. In this case, the news is that there's no news yet.

While that's one of the things I wrote about for tomorrow, possibly the most interesting thing he talked about, at least for me, was his process for scripting plays. He said he's narrowed his choices to three plays for Auburn's first play on its first drive -- which is of course assuming he's operating under normal circumstances (not first-and-goal at the 1 or something like that). Already has 25 to 30 plays scripted to start out with. I find it fascinating stuff. I think I'm going to write about that for my Tuesday story, since they're off Monday. That's one fun thing about my job is that I get to decide what's interesting and what the 14 people who read my Auburn stories in the CLE have to read about.

Running a close second in what Franklin said this afternoon that I found interesting is this comment, starting with when he'll tell the QBs who's starting:
"As soon as I know. They know what you know. Today, when they went out there, I didn’t tell which one of them to go first. They do that between themselves. The snaps and how they alternate the snaps, they do that themselves. I just make sure by the end of the week that they’ve all gotten the quality of reps that they have to have. So when I look out there, like on a certain day, and see who goes first for a certain drill, they decide that every day themselves. So far, like I said, it’s been a good problem. And it’s really not a problem. I can find no negatives in it at all. Unless I made it negative, then it can be negative, but I don’t plan on doing that."

* Did you know that Louisiana-Monroe had lost 25 straight games against SEC opposition before it beat Alabama last year? Wow. That's got to be a bit embarrassing. I read that little nugget in Auburn's game notes package today.
* WR Montez Billings is doubtful to play Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe. Franklin said that means Quindarius Carr and Philip Pierre-Louis probably will get more reps if Billings doesn't go and PPL will probably get more reps at the Z receiver than the X (they're both outside receiver spots. that's all I got), after alternating between the two a lot lately.
* Tuberville said Jomarcus Savage (shoulder) is back at practice and Bart Eddins (shoulder) should be back this week. He said Tristan Davis is back and running at full speed, although Ben Tate said Davis isn't fully healthy. He said he's still limping around.
* Tuberville and Paul Rhoads both said Raven Gray is having a very difficult time getting healthy after knee surgery nine or so months ago. Rhoads said what Gray is going though is pretty common. Tuberville said Gray is “really struggling,” not in the two-deep at DE and is not sure to play this week unless he improves quickly.
* It's not what the reporter was angling for (I think he wanted to know who else would be on the field besides Jerraud Powers and Walt McFadden when Auburn goes to a three-cornerback set), but Rhoads said Powers will be the team's nickelback. I asked him if that's because Powers is a more physical player than the other options. Sounds like it's because of his versatility:
"Jerraud Powers is an extremely intelligent, gifted athletic football player. He’s very mature, he’s a quick study. He allows you to do a lot of things both man and zone for a number of reasons that Jerraud Powers gives us our best nickelback."
* Tuberville said walk-on Justin Albert is back practicing. He said they'll start him out on scout team at running back, but that he might get a look at slot receiver or even cornerback. I know a lot of people thought a lot of him coming out of high school and think he might just turn into the next accomplished AU walk-on.
* Tuberville said Clinton Durst and Wes Byrum won't kick until Thursday to rest their legs. Tuberville said Ryan Shoemaker had been dealing with a hamstring injury, but is now back and will punt some in practice this week to even things out. Tuberville said they'll probably announce a punter by Tuesday at his press conference.


Acid Reign said...

.....That was a really interesting post! Powers at nickleback... Translation? He's slower a-foot than McFadden or the freshmen. He's got the knowledge, though, and can help to either side.

.....Scripted plays! That can help you keep from being predictable. On the other hand, if you're script keeps getting you into 2nd and long situations... And you certainly can't use the same plan over and over again!

.....My biggest practice question at this point, is who's playing tight end, beyond Tommy Trott? Who's going to be in there on 3rd and inches? Extra linemen? McKenzie to DE, Slusher hurt; I'm curious!

David Ching said...

They've talked about how Gabe can always come back and help at TE if necessary. I don't know how serious they are about that.

You'd have to wonder how much more likely it is now that freshman Vance Smith might play this year as Trott's backup.

In truth, I think this is a sign that they don't have much use for a big bunch of traditional tight ends in this offense.