Friday, April 17, 2009

News from Thursday's practice

At least four prominent Auburn players are expected to miss Auburn’s spring game on Saturday and a few others could also miss the game.
Running back Eric Smith (knee), cornerback Aairon Savage (knee) and safeties Mike McNeil (broken leg) and Zac Etheridge (shoulder) are all unlikely to play Saturday.
Receivers coach Trooper Taylor said receivers Tommy Trott and Philip Pierre-Louis both could sit out as well, depending on trainers’ recommendations.
That list of Auburn players with injuries apparently grew on Thursday night during a half-scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Safeties coach Tommy Thigpen said Mike Slade suffered an injury. Thigpen didn’t specify but said he was unsure if Slade would play on Saturday.
Defensive tackle Mike Blanc said later that quarterbacks Barrett Trotter and Neil Caudle both took big hits during the scrimmage as well. reported this morning that Neil Caudle is fine and will play Saturday. Trotter, however, injured his knee and will miss A-Day.
“We hurt two of the quarterbacks,” Blanc said. “We hurt Trott and Neil. They were scrambling with the ball and somebody got two nice little ones on them. They’re OK, though. They were back in action. There were just some nice hits out there. That’s what our defense has to do. We have attack and swarm.”
No other coaches or players mentioned potential injuries to either quarterback. The entire Auburn camp has been so tight-lipped that the injuries might not have been mentioned even if they were serious.
Blanc did, however, say the quarterbacks “were back in action,” which presumably means they were cleared to play again.
With Chris Todd still not practicing, Trotter, Caudle and Kodi Burns are the only three scholarship quarterbacks. Brent Poole, a walk-on, could also get some time during A-Day.
The safety position is equally thin. If Slade can’t go on Saturday, Christian Thompson and Drew Cole would be the only scholarship safeties on the team.
Defensive end Antoine Carter hasn’t participated for most of spring. It’s unclear whether he’ll play.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik said he wasn’t sure which players would participate during the spring game. However, he did say the team still has plenty to accomplish, so it won’t be an entirely watered-down affair.
“We’ve got to get something done Saturday,” Chizik said. “So we will scrimmage and we’ll do some special teams. We’ve got to get something out of the practice, but you know, it will be base defense and base offense and we’ll run some and throw it some and we won’t do a lot of blitzing and things of that nature, but it will be a good look at the base of all sides and on special teams as well.”

RUNNING IN PLACE: Auburn will hold Smith out of Saturday’s game despite running backs coach Curtis Luper saying “he’s basically ready to go.”
“He had a great spring up until that point,” Luper said. “He was doing really well, understands the offense well, he’s tough, hard to tackle, conscientious, works hard. He’s what I like.”
With Smith out, Auburn will have just two scholarship tailbacks – Ben Tate and Onterio McCalebb. Walk-on Justin Albert also should get plenty of opportunities during A-Day.
Luper said as of Thursday, Tate and McCalebb would not be the top two running backs. Luper has praised Tate for a good portion of the spring, which probably means McCalebb hasn’t worked his way into Luper’s ideal rotation, which only features two players.
“I’d like to play two,” Luper said. “The ideal situation is you get a guy who’s the guy. He can carry 20-25 times and someone else carries it 10 times. I don’t know where we’ll be. We’ll find out. There’s a lot of work for us offensively, timing-wise, a lot of work they have to do on their own this summer.”

ROSY RETURN: Offensive lineman Darrell Roseman has made his way through two star-crossed, injury-riddled years at Auburn.
Now he’s attempting to work his way onto the field.
“I would say I’m about 90 percent,” Roseman said. “I mean, the best I’ve been since I’ve been here, so I can’t complain about that.”
Roseman is currently working at left guard. He’s up 30 pounds since moving over from defensive line and now weighs approximately 295 pounds.
This is seemingly the longest he’s gone without suffering a debilitating injury.
“Man it’s been very frustrating, but I’m still here,” Roseman said. “I’m still fighting trying to get on that field.”
Roseman had shin problems throughout the 2007 season. He attempted to go through spring practice, but eventually needed steel rods inserted in both shins.
“At first it was a big adjustment because you can tell they’re there,” Roseman said. “As the year goes along, I’m used to them now. You can still tell because you can feel the pain, but it’s better than it was.”
Upon Roseman’s return, he moved from defense to offensive line. The first day he moved to the offensive side, he suffered a shoulder injury that eventually required shoulder surgery.
Roseman said he has considered quitting football on several occasions.
“I question myself every time, but that’s when I go to God and my mom,” Roseman said. “Everything just seems to work out for me.
“I just want to play. That’s my main goal, just to play, just to contribute in any way I can.”

Photo courtesy: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

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