Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tommy's press conference

Here's what you need to know:
  • Terrell Zachery will start the season-opener against Louisiana-Monroe. After being listed as a backup throughout the preseason, Zachery has apparently overtaken Robert Dunn as the starting inside receiver. Dunn has not been suspended. He will still return punts, but he is currently listed as the fourth-string "H" (inside receiver) behind Zachery, true freshman Darvin Adams and Mario Fannin. Zachery had a great spring and receivers coach Steve Ensminger said recently that Zachery is the most improved player since January.
  • There's still no official starting QB. There's no timetable for naming a QB. Tommy Tuberville said during his press conference that everyone would likely have to wait until Saturday to know who's starting. It sounds like Tuberville will now accept a two-QB system after saying during SEC Media Days that there would be a "clear-cut" starter. It also sounds like Tuberville wants a starter in place for the third game of the season, which is Auburn's conference opener. That game will be played at Mississippi State.
  • DE Raven Gray will redshirt. He has had significant struggles with his surgically repaired knee and has not looked good during practice. Tuberville said Gabe McKenzie's move to DE made the redshirt possible.
  • WR Montez Billings "probably won't play." - Tuberville
  • Tuberville said the starting punter would be a gametime decision, but Clinton Durst seems to have a good lead. Ryan Shoemaker missed a few practices last week and Durst said he has been working with the first team. Be sure to check tomorrow's story for more information on Durst.
  • True freshman S Christian Thompson is behind Jonathan Vickers on the depth chart. I'm not sure about that, but that's the best thing about Saturday being so close: We'll know soon.
  • Mike Blanc is listed as the starter at nose guard. Tez Doolittle is Blanc's backup. Jake Ricks will back up Sen'Derrick Marks at the other DT spot.
  • Auburn's four starting receivers: James Swinton, Zachery, Tommy Trott and Rod Smith.
  • Neil Caudle is currently the third-team QB, having apparently beaten out true freshman Barrett Trotter.
  • RB Tristan Davis is practicing, but Brad Lester said "He's hurt pretty bad right now. I hope he'll be back soon, but I'm not sure he'll be ready for Saturday." If Davis can't go, freshmen Eric Smith and Philip Pierre-Louis would benefit. Smith would get more snaps at tailback and PPL would return kickoffs with Ben Tate.
  • This isn't breaking news, but Tuberville reiterated that Mario Fannin will play several different positions this year. He's currently listed as the third-string "H," but will also play RB and outside WR. Tuberville said the team might as well put an "ATH" next to his name, which, in recruiting terms, means "athlete."
  • Trott beat out Tim Hawthorne for the starting "Y" position. This isn't a surprise, but Trott had been behind Hawthorne on the depth chart throughout camp.
  • LBs Chris Evans and Merrill Johnson are still listed as co-starters. I don't think this matters because both will see significant playing time.

That's all for now. Be sure to read tomorrow's Anniston Star for more information.

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