The sophomore from Bastrop, La., had a cast on his right hand until recently, the result of a pass that jammed his fingers. Fellow wideout Darvin Adams said Benton broke a bone in his hand.
“The month that he had off set him back some, but he’ll work really hard to come back and he’s going to do whatever he has to do to help our team,” Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said. “He came out today with a really good attitude and did whatever we asked him to do.”
Benton was working behind Adams at one of the outside receiver sports prior to the injury.
Auburn’s coaches plan to slowly get Benton back in the fold, meaning his availability for the opener against Arkansas State game is unknown.
“We’re not throwing that many balls at him in practice right now,” Chizik said. “It’s going to be kind of getting back into the process, as you imagine it would be.”
Benton had six catches for 88 yards last season, all against Furman, a Football Championship Subdivision school.
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Here are some more notes and quotes from tonight's round of interviews:
- Did you really think we'd find out who the starting right tackle or backup quarterback would be? Please. "We’re getting closer,” Chizik said. “You are tired of hearing that, aren’t you? But we really are.”
- Those right tackle competitors are (in order of how likely I think they'll start): A.J. Greene, John Sullen and Brandon Mosley. Another candidate, junior college transfer Roszell Gayden, has been slowed by a knee injury this August." Roszell has been in the rotation at different times, but again, he's beat up, he's a little banged up, and I think that's slowed him down some," Chizik said. "But he's really tried hard. He's given us great effort and we'll continue to see how he helps us at some point and in some way."
- Doesn't sound like there's a Wildcat quarterback chosen yet. Incumbent Kodi Burns and freshman Trovon Reed have worked there this August. "We've got some different options there," Chizik said. "And Kodi is obviously the guy that's done it, knows it, and we know that. But you've always got to have backups and you've always got to have guys who can compete at that position, and I think we have some guys that will do that."
- Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen has dealt with a right shoulder injury recently. The sophomore had a wrap on it Tuesday during practice. “It’s new in that it’s happened in college,” he said. “It happened a few times in high school. We’re just trying to keep it safe.”
- Likely starting punt returner Quindarius Carr on how he's gotten better at shagging punts. "Coach Trooper always tells me, to be a punt returner you’ve got to be a man," he said. "The thing about it is finding confidence and knowing that all eyes are on you. That’s the only thing I think of every time I’m back there catching a punt. They trust me enough to put the ball in my hands, so I can’t let my other teammates down, and make a play."
- Sounds like there's a lot of camaraderie in the running back group. "We just go with the flow," freshman Michael Dyer said. "However a person plays and how a person does in a game, we're going to go with that. If he needs a break, the next back goes in. That's how we see it. We don't see a specific person, we see a person going in and doing what he's asked to do. When he's done with that, the next person goes does what he has to do. We rotate in and listen to the coaches."
- Dyer didn't take many breaks as a standout prep running back, but getting some against a college defense doesn't sound like a bad idea. "When you run a rotation like that and the system we're in now, I feel like none of us should be that tired that we couldn't put up a fight against a defense that's well-rested," he said. "I feel like our legs will always be able to recuperate and be ready in a moment in time."
- Freshman DE Corey Lemonier continues to work behind Antoine Carter at the quick end position. Dee Ford, Justin Delaine and Joel Bonomolo are also working there.
- Safety Mike Slade has left the program, according to AuburnUndercover.com. Slade, a junior, was relegated to the scout team Tuesday.
- LT Lee Ziemba estimated that Auburn has 75 percent of its game plan installed for Arkansas State.
- Interesting takes on Gus Malzahn's offense by Ziemba and quarterback Cam Newton. Ziemba was quick to correct a questioner about calling it the spread. "This isn't a spread offense," he said. "This is a two-back offense we run and then play-action pass. That's what we are. A lot of people like to call us a spread because we're no-huddle but if you look at last year, we were 55-45 run to pass. It's a good balance." Asked about it about 10 minutes later, Newton said, "It's all spread, but different philosophies." Glad you could clear that up.
- Ziemba, a Rogers, Ark., native, got his first scholarship offer from Arkansas State. "Sophomore-junior year of high school," he said. "I was real excited back then, too. Just big getting your first scholarship offer. I had the NCAA '07 game and I set my favorite school to Arkansas State. It was just neat getting that first scholarship offer. You always have a soft place in your heart for the first school that offers you. I'm real glad they get to come in here and play."
- By the end of the recruiting process, Ziemba, a four-star prospect, got at least 30 offers from major schools. Arkansas State quickly faded from the pack. "Probably a little bit," Ziemba said. "It was a fun ride being recruited and getting to see all the schools and I appreciated all the offers I got."
- Ziemba gave almost a tutorial about how to block with leverage, lunging forward in his seat a few times to show what he shouldn't be doing. Lunging had been a problem of his since high school, but he had a bigger problem with his feet. "My base, I'd always come together when I was hitting linebackers," he said. "It made it really tough. If you didn't just physically dominate a guy, you'd get thrown off that block and you weren't sustaining your blocks very long. So that was the biggest problem and that dates back until when I was playing pee-wee football just bad habits and things like that. I think we're finally getting that corrected."
- Ziemba credits offensive line coach Jeff Grimes for a lot of that. "I feel like I don't have to think about my technique as much as I did in the past," he said. "I've spent the last year, year and a half with coach Grimes. I think he's instilled the way he wants things done in me. That's one less thing to think about during a play. Also, I feel like I know the game of football a little bit better as far as what defenses are going to try to do to us so I don't have to think about as much pre-snap. I can look at it, see it, feel it and know. That's just a testament to coach Grimes, how much he's done for us and just not only teaching us our positions but the game of football itself."
- An exchange between a reporter and Newton about Malzahn:
- (Reporter: Gus Malzahn is soft-spoken to us ...)
- Newton: "Coach Malzahn?"
- (Reporter: Yes)
- Newton: "Coach Gus MAL-zahn? [Guffaws!] Soft-spoken, by no means. You might now him differently than I do, but he's definitely a coach that gets after it at all costs and he pumps up the guys. He just raises the level of any athlete. If you're good, he wants to see you gooder. If you're gooder, which is not a word, he tries to make you great. But he's always expecting the best out of all his athletes, and that's a good thing."
- Needless to say, Newton is looking forward to a big-game atmosphere at Auburn after a year at Blinn (Texas) Community College. "Oh no, this does not compare," he said. "We had more folks at practice than a Blinn College homecoming game."
- And lastly, it's no secret that Newton drives a moped around campus. He's shocked that no one else does. "It's really popular," he said. 'When I first got here, I was shocked to see that no one really had a moped, but if you go anywhere else over the country, there are a lot of people where it is very popular. You look crazy if you don't have one. You come here and you have one and everybody is looking like, 'Oh, who is that? 'Oh, it's Cam. Ahhhhhh!' But it's funny when they're looking at you and I'm laughing, riding by them going to class and they're late."