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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Early practice notes: Linebackers are scarce

Auburn had slim pickings at linebacker for its practice Sunday, with only four scholarship players participating.

Spencer Pybus
, Adam Herring and Harris Gaston were not dressed, leaving only Josh Bynes, Craig Stevens, Eltoro Freeman, Jonathan Evans and a few walk-ons at the Tigers' disposal.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: linebacker depth is going to be a huge issue for this team this season.

Some other early observations ...
  • Auburn did a lot of special teams practice during the 25 minutes we media types got to watch. The most interesting part was a live kicking drill. Wes Byrum went a perfect 7-for-7 in the drill, kicking from both hashes and slowly increasing the length. His last kick — a 45-yarder — split the uprights despite teammates from both sidelines crowding in close and making noise before the junior booted the ball.
  • WR DeAngelo Benton was back and without the wrap he had on his right hand Saturday. He looked like a full participant today.
  • Still no full pads. Everybody was in shells.
  • When we first got out to the fields, one field was reserved for kickoff return practice, another for punt and punt returns drills and the other for quarterbacks and offensive linemen.
  • Interestingly, freshman TE Philip Lutzenkirchen did some long-snapping on the side at a field goal distance. Bailey Woods and freshman walk-on Jake Lembke were doing the long-snapping with the punters. Woods was in when the field goal unit went through its live drill.
  • No OL Aubrey Phillips, which isn't surprising. That might be the case for a while.
  • Also out, in addition to WR Tim Hawthorne and QB Barrett Trotter: S T'Sharvan Bell, who had a wrap on his right knee, DE Dee Ford and OL Rudy Odom.
  • Pretty much every running back and wide receiver was on the field alternating between kick and punt returns (Benton was one notable exception). Defenders Neiko Thorpe, Walt McFadden, Demond Washington and Harry Adams were also out there.
  • Got to see offensive line coach Jeff Grimes rip into a player for the first time. The normally mild-mannered (at least by OL coach standards) got in freshman Andre Harris' face while the team was stretching because he didn't have his helmet properly placed in front of him. "Put your helmet where the other helmets are!" Grimes barked. He then made mention of the fact that this was the second time in as many days he had to tell him that. I guess Auburn's coaches pay attention to every detail.

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