Practice One (8/2)
Hey everyone. It was a hot one out there today. Practice ran from 9:15ish to just after noon. That's a long workout by anyone's standards ... and among the longest I've seen at Auburn.
Almost everyone was clad in shorts and helmets. WR Mario Fannin was the only guy in shoulder pads. The brace that protects his surgically repaired left shoulder is attached to his shoulder pads, so he has to wear them.
Here were the elements that stood out to me:
- WR Chris Slaughter isn't getting much thicker. He still looks like a Pixie Stick. He's listed at 6-foot-3 and 179 pounds.
- OC Tony Franklin doesn't mingle with the offense during drills. He stands on the sideline and rarely engages with players in real time. He generally waits until after the drill to dispense guidance. That is a major break with the way Al Borges handled things.
- Watching him call plays is interesting. He makes a call and three assistants (sometimes two assistants and an idle offensive lineman) will turn the call into a sequence of signals that communicates the call to the players on the field. You saw this in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. What you haven't seen is how Franklin keeps calling the play ... even as the three amigos flash the signals. He probably repeats each call five times. I'm assuming that's to avoid any chance of miscommunication.
- Franklin to QB Kodi Burns: "Be faster, Kodi. Be faster, Kodi."
LipscombThorpe changed his name this summer. He explained Saturday that he took his mom's maiden name all along because, well, that's what she used on the birth certificate. His father's last name is Thorpe. His mother's last name is Thorpe. They've been married. Neiko decided this summer to bring his last name in line with the rest of his family. ``Once the paperwork came through — I switched my social security number over, got a new birth certificate — then I started telling people here," he said.
- OG Chaz Ramsey was not at practice. Coach Tommy Tuberville said Ramsey will be "off and on with what he's going to do." Ramsey, a presumed starter, underwent back surgery during the offseason and clearly isn't ready for full-time contact just yet.
- Several players spent some or all of their day on an exercise bike: S T'Sharvan Bell (broken foot), WR Justin Albert (knee), DE Antonio Coleman (hamstring), DT Tez Doolittle (hamstring) and S DeRon Furr, who was injured during a early-practice fracas. He seemed fine after practice.
- Assistant coach Eddie Gran to a mass of players on the sideline: "Everybody echoes the formation. Open your mouth and help your teammates."
- Franklin makes players remove helmets during breaks.
- Tuberville said freshman DE Andre Wadley, who was hospitalized last month, is undergoing rehabilitation off the field. That's why Wadley didn't report and didn't attend Saturday's practice. ``He probably won't do anything in two-a-days. He'll start school, and we'll bring him along slow," Tuberville said.
I eased over to Fan Day for a few minutes. The crowd was as big as ever. The line for Tuberville was routed through the lower-level tunnels this year, which alleviated a lot of the clutter that kept me off the floor in past years.
That's why it seems more desolate when looking at the picture below. There are hundreds of people waiting in line out of sight. You can see them snaking out of the door at top left. DeRon Furr signs an autograph below.
Photo credit: (top photo) Todd Van Emst/Auburn University