AUBURN — Key Ramsey, father of offensive lineman Chaz Ramsey, confirmed Monday that Auburn granted his son a release.
The release stipulates that Chaz Ramsey cannot communicate with nine SEC schools. The two exceptions are Ole Miss and Mississippi State – the two in-state schools for the Madison, Miss. native.
Ramsey has not played this season after he underwent offseason back surgery nor has he worked out with the team.
As a true freshman last season, Ramsey started nine games and was named to the SEC All-Freshman team.
Key Ramsey said Chaz Ramsey’s rehabilitation has gone well and he thinks there’s a good chance he could practice during the spring, adding he expects his son’s career to continue.
Key Ramsey declined further comment on the situation.
Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville has maintained for the last month that Chaz Ramsey is still enrolled in Auburn, which he is, and said there was a chance Ramsey would later transfer.
The release does not guarantee Ramsey will transfer.
It stipulates that if Ramsey cannot continue his football career, he can continue his education at Auburn with a scholarship. That scholarship would not count against Auburn’s football total.
If Ramsey can play again, he can continue to play for Auburn or he can transfer elsewhere.
• TIGERS HONOR DEFENDERS: Middle linebacker Josh Bynes was named the coaches’ defensive player of the week after he recorded 11 tackles in his first career start.
Auburn defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads said he was just as impressive on film.
“He was ripping through blocks like we do a string-out drill in Tuesday’s teamwork stuff,” Rhoads said. “He was carrying over the drills to the field and his play reflected that.
“The Mike linebacker in the system should be very productive. If you went back through the whole year and combined Tray and Josh, that would be what we’re getting out of the Mike position, just exactly what we need.”
Bynes was one of two players Rhoads singled out for their productivity on Saturday.
The other player was safety Zac Etheridge, who played through a bruised left shoulder.
“He played big,” Rhoads said. “He was a general to that secondary. We didn’t miss any of (Etheridge’s) adjustments. That kind of leadership, as well as the physical play he brings week in and week out, are very important to our play right now.”
Rhoads said Etheridge played through “extreme” pain at times.
Etheridge, who finished with six tackles, said he considered taking himself out of the game at times.
“It’s a big game, so I just pushed myself to go,” Etheridge said. “I knew I had to step up and be there for the team. So I just pushed myself and fought through the pain.”
• BYRUM GETS SOME COMPETITION: After recent struggles, Auburn kicker Wes Byrum will fight for his job this week.
Walk-on kicker Morgan Hull is Auburn’s backup. He has taken over the Tigers’ kickoff duties, but has never attempted a field goal in his collegiate career.
Hull will get an opportunity to beat out Byrum this week.
“I think we’ll have a little competition out there,” Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said.
His tune changed when he made the mistake of asking a question to reporters.
Tuberville asked how many Byrum had missed. He was quickly reminded Byrum has not made a field goal in his past three attempts.
“Three straight?” Tuberville said. “Yeah, we’ll have a competition. We’ve got to put more pressure on him. We might need to do more live rush, go against scout team, do some things, get some people in front of him. Do a little running if he doesn’t make it. Get the whole team involved.”
• ADDING INPUT: Tuberville acknowledged Sunday that, while coordinators call plays, he certainly offers suggestions.
“They don’t ask me which play to run,” Tuberville said. “I might suggest a run or a pass, you’ve got four downs, we’re not going to kick the field (goal), we’re going to go for fourth down, be more conservative, turn it loose.”
Auburn’s offense has gone ultra-conservative late in all three conference games this season. In SEC play, the Tigers have managed just seven total points in the fourth quarter — and those came when Auburn trailed LSU.
That strategy ultimately worked against Mississippi State and Tennessee, but it cost Auburn a win against LSU when Auburn couldn’t get a first down in the final minutes.
Franklin said Saturday that Tuberville gave him the green light to have Kodi Burns throw the third-and-5 pass that sealed the game.
Burns completed the pass and Auburn held on for a two-point win.
• INJURIES: Tuberville said he expected all three significant absentees from the Tennessee game to play this week.
Tailbacks Brad Lester (knee) and Tristan Davis (concussion) and linebacker Tray Blackmon (cracked bone in wrist) all missed the Tennessee game, but Tuberville said he expects all three to play against Vanderbilt.
Rhoads wasn’t as confident that Blackmon would play. Blackmon hasn’t been able to practice in full-contact drills with the cast on his left arm.
Rhoads said he wouldn’t know if Blackmon can play until he sees his starting middle linebacker practice.
— Luke Brietzke