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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tuberville Wednesday notes

Talked to or listened to a ton of folks today, including Tommy Tuberville, Eddie Gran, James Willis, Terrell Zachary, Robert Dunn, Chris Slaughter and Michael Goggans. Got some good stuff from those guys that I'll be including in notebooks over the next couple of days, but I'm just going to post some highlights from Tuberville's post-practice comments today and some quotes from him. It's late and they're practicing in the morning.

* He said they're still not ready to name a starting quarterback, that Kodi Burns and Chris Todd are still splitting practice reps 50-50 and that he still expects both to play. Whether they've made their decision, he's not ready to let on just yet: "This time of year, the first and second quarterback get the same amount of reps. Now when we start practicing, I would imagine after the first game we’ll cut back a little bit. But right now we’re still trying to pick the right one." The quarterbacks were unavailable to reporters today and have been since Sunday. So were Tony Franklin and Paul Rhoads. I think they were last available about a week ago.
* He said Brad Lester practiced Wednesday. Tristan Davis did not. Previously Tuberville said it was a foot problem that was bothering Davis. Today he said it was hamstring. Neither player has been available for post-practice interviews for a week or so. Tuberville said Davis could play if he had to, but they're being cautious with him.
* Sen'Derrick Marks is apparently feeling better after being slowed by some undisclosed injury last week. He was also unavailable today: "He didn’t look hurt today. He was a beast out there today. I think he strained the back of his calf last week."
* Craig Stevens didn't practice today. Tuberville thought he had some sort of toe injury. He thought Stevens might be back at practice Thursday. Stevens was unavailable after practice today.
* Tuberville was complimentary of the way Gabe McKenzie has taken to his new position, defensive end. McKenzie was unavailable after practice today: "He’s done well. Gabe is very attentive. Everything he does he’s full-speed. I’m proud of him just wanting to play, wanting to make a decision on going and being on the field. This offense, he woulda played some, but he was kinda seeing the rotation and kinda feeling that I’d like to do a little bit more, being a junior. I like his acceleration off the ball. He’s very coachable. And if he keeps practicing the way he’s practicing, he’ll play in the first game at defensive end."
* Tuberville said they hadn't received word from the NCAA Clearinghouse on Reggie Hunt's eligibility. We discovered later that Hunt had been ruled ineligible and he confirmed it to Auburnsports.com. He plans to attend junior college in Mississippi.
* Tuberville on Slaughter: "I think the light’s come on for him. You just hope it keeps staying on. Some guys sometimes lock up on you. Last year I thought midseason he kind of went downhill a little bit, but right now he’s practiced well. Every time we’ve practiced, he’s come out and it’s looked like he’s been on a mission, which has been good."
* Tuberville on whether they'd consider redshirting Raven Gray if his injured knee doesn't improve more: "A lot of it will depend on what he does in the next three or four weeks. A.J. Greene’s playing better, so with Gabe, that gives them five over there that we feel pretty good about. The first couple weeks, Raven looked real good and then he kinda went downhill because he started losing strength because he hadn’t been going that much. If he regains it, we won’t redshirt him, we’ll play him. He’s pretty good in certain situations. He’ll probably be a situation guy for a while. But no, we wouldn’t redshirt him – he’s just got to make a little bit of recovery."
* Tuberville said no players are academically ineligible.
* He was asked about whether he thought freshman receivers like Derek Winter and Darvin Adams will play. Winter, Adams and all other true freshmen are off limits until after the first game: "We talked about that today, about receivers. I don’t want to play one of those guys three or four plays and wish we hadn’t done it. So we’re gonna do long, hard thoughts, probably Saturday, Sunday morning before we start practice again Sunday afternoon. But they’re doing good. I imagine at least one of those will play. Maybe two."
* Just to add it in, Eddie Gran said he considers Brad Lester his starter, although the first play and personnel grouping could call for Ben Tate to be in the game to start out. It depends on what the playcall is, he said.
* Gran also said "there's no question" Eric Smith appears in line for playing time this season.
* He also said Wes Byrum seems to be the top choice as the kickoff man for now, but he'd like to work Morgan Hull into the job as the year goes along in order to keep Byrum's leg fresh.


War Eagle! said...

Awesome blog David -I was a regular reader of Christa Turner at the Ledger-Inquirer which is how I found the blog. I like reading the blogs better than the stories actually. Quicker updates, short & to the point.

By the way, I have a blog here that I've been using to track news about AU alumni in the NFL -I love seeing them kick-tail there after leaving AU. Unfortunately, I use Google Reader to add feeds and it has been totally broken for about a month.

War Eagle!

Michael J. Bernard said...

Tommy Tuberville's indecision will destroy Auburn football season!
by Michael Bernard

Despite affirming at SEC Media Days less than a month ago that a 2-quarterback system (aside from using a gimmick running qb on third down and goal line situations) is one that he whole-heartedly disbelieved in, Tommy Tuberville is not steering his ship any closer to chosing a starter, and essentially, a leader for his team. There will be a lack of focus early, and with big games coming quick in Auburn's schedule, any sort of stumble can be mega-disasterous.

Chris Todd, the veritable arm cannon, is competing for the starting job with the prototypical gimick running quarterback--Kodi "Blunt" Burns--whose effectiveness as a passer or leader has yet to be seen. And instead of deciding between the two sometime during-or-after spring practices and scrimages, thus allowing a summer and pre-season to gear toward a specific assemblage of skill players, the coaching staff has found it more wise to put off making this all-important decision until, presumably, opening kickoff.

Which is exactly what a team with many question marks on both sides of the ball needs to do more than anything. It needs to let lingering uncertainties fester in a sort of sargasso-like purgatory, letting the media hawkishly hover and peck at the obviously divine decision-making ability the new Tony Franklin offensive regime brings to the table. Obviously Tony Franklin's patented offensive system is so good it doesn't even matter who run's it.

This is good news to Tommy "The Riverboat Gambler" Tuberville, who likes to know that his often sublimely idiotic decisions late in the game can be bailed out by an undefeatable patented offensive scheme that is ran by over 275 high schools and universities. Surely no one has ever devoted ANY TIME AT ALL to devising a defense to defend against such tom-foolery.Only time will tell, and it seems that it is Auburn's die-hard fans who will be punished for the next few months.