Hey everyone. OK. OK. I was a little slow getting this updated after practice but I have a good excuse. I pieced together a sure-to-be-award-winning story about Brent Slusher for Thursday's paper. That took a little longer than expected. Still, I'm here with fresh practice information.
Check below for the new stuff.
As for the picture, you might ask: Why Brandon Cox
This is my small tribute to him not being named to the Davey O'Brien watch list, which included real stars like Rice's Chase Clement
, UNLV's Rocky Hinds
, Kinsmon Lancaster from UL-Monroe
and Justin Willis from SMU
. I'm sure Cox is devastated.
Auburn held an 80-play scrimmage at the end of Wednesday's practice. Cox said the emphasis was on learning to substitute personnel groupings quickly and managing the clock. He said all plays were scripted. Tailbacks couldn't be tackled. You get the picture: Not much of a scrimmage at all.
I know that CB Jerraud Powers
picked off a Cox pass that CB Jae Wilhite
said probably went for a touchdown. That's as exact as it gets. The press isn't allowed to watch practice these days.
Talking with LB Brent Slusher is an interesting enterprise. He's quiet and shy and remarkably humble. He's also the No. 2 guy behind Craig Stevens. Bo Harris
(shoulder) was back on Wednesday, though, which may shuffle Slusher back into the No. 3 hole. Who knows? Harris is a freshman -- just like Slush. Harris missed a week with that shoulder. I don't know that he's a lot better than Slush. Auburn fans better hope Stevens stays healthy.
Here's a shocker -- Blake Field
has been named the team's backup quarterback. I don't think we've heard the last of freshman Kodi Burns
' 2007 season just yet. If Cox is seriously injured at some point this season, I think Burns will be the next in line. If Cox stubs a toe or misses time with shin splints, then Field will get a shot. See what I'm saying there?
Offensive coordinator Al Borges
on Auburn's defense:
They're the ultimate test for us because they've got a really good defensive line, really well coached. They'll test you with pass-rushing and run-stopping. I've been very impressed with our coverage, particularly in terms of the corners. We've got a couple kids back there that really make it tough. They're good bump-and-run corners, and they don't play off.
It's interesting to me how many defensive players praise LB Courtney Harden's
understanding of the defense. I mean everyone
loves this kid's head for the game. Linebackers coach James Willis
, in a proud tone, said the other day that Harden can play all three linebacker spots. So why is Harden stuck being Merrill Johnson
on the weak side? Coaches want to see more aggression from Harden on the field.
If you're a faithful message-board reader, you probably recall a recent picture of TB Tristan Davis
' toe that made the rounds. It looked terrible -- all bruised and gnarly -- because it was a broken toe. That's what they look like sometimes. Davis was surprised to find that his right foot had become a hot viewing commodity.
Here is Davis' account:
"How it happened, I don't know. It was kind of weird. I sent the picture to my cousin, and he had a mobile upload to my account or whatever and he was trying to send it to my aunt. (He) sent it to everybody on the list. I got calls like, 'Ooh, what's wrong with your toe.' It was kind of weird having my toe across the world."Jerry Hinnen
, the entertaining writer behind Joe Cribbs Car Wash
, argued somewhat recently that Tommy Tuberville's
best coaching job came during the 2004 season. It's a reasonable position because that team didn't have a weakness and beat good opponents in a variety of ways.
Still, I consider 2006 to be Tuberville's best work. Hinnen, with a big assist from Phil Steele
, points out how ineffective the offense was. There were other statistical problems with that team as well. You don't need numbers to see that team was mediocre at best. Yet it won 11 games. The bottom line is that coaching staff, Al Borges
and Hugh Nall
in particular, dramatically adjusted things to deal with Cox's situation.
I think devising ways to make the '06 team maximize its ability was more difficult than for a fully healthy '04 team. I realize we're splitting hairs here. That's the fun part of blogs. Weeeeee.