Friday, October 23, 2009

Cleaning out the notebook: CB Adams dismissed from team

Auburn confirmed Thursday that sophomore CB Harry Adams has been dismissed from the team for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Adams' departure means the Tigers have just three cornerbacks that have played all season. With starter Walt McFadden already playing on a bad knee, that could spell trouble from a depth standpoint.

When McFadden came out of the game against Arkansas, Adams saw some playing time with the first-team defense. He has also played as a dime defensive back and had eight tackles on the season. Demond Washington has served as the team's nickelback.

With Adams gone, the Tigers will likely turn to either T'Sharvan Bell or D'Antoine Hood for depth. Both players started as cornerbacks before moving to safety. Neither has played any meaningful minutes on defense this season. Hood made his lone career start at Ole Miss last year.

Adams moved from corner to receiver during spring practice, but moved back to corner when Aairon Savage suffered an Achilles injury and three players were kicked off the team for violations of team rules. Christian Thompson, a safety, was one of the players booted from the team. That prompted Hood and Bell to move to safety permanently, and created a need at cornerback.

Adams played sparingly as a true freshman last year.

ON THE MEND: One injured Auburn player is ready to make a bigger impact, another is returning to practice and a third might not play at all this season.

WR Tim Hawthorne, who has seen limited playing time since starting the West Virginia game, is finally getting back to 100 percent, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Wednesday.

Now it’s a matter of getting him more practice time to rebuild his arsenal as a playmaking receiver.

“I think Tim's getting to the point where he's back, obviously much more healthy than he was a month ago,” Chizik said. “But again, the reps and the things need to build up. We're getting close, but he is healthy and he's one of those guys that I'm talking about that needs to help us. Not just offense but wherever on the team, special teams and things of that nature, to help us. He needs to.”

That’s the best prognosis Chizik gave on a player with a lingering injury on Wednesday.

He did, however, say that QB Barrett Trotter has returned for limited practice repetitions. Trotter has missed several months after he suffered a serious knee injury toward the end of spring practice. Before suffering the knee injury, he was in the quarterback competition with Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle.

“He's practicing some. Barrett's coming along real well,” Chizik said. “He's out there and he's running around. Again him, day-by-day with his injury is really where we're at. But he's back out there doing more than he did a month ago.”

Chizik also said Trotter is not currently game-ready – or at least that’s not the plan for him to need to be game-ready.

The news isn’t as good for S Mike McNeil.

The junior started every game last year as a sophomore, but broke his leg during a spring scrimmage. Chizik didn’t say if he has returned to practice, but he did say a redshirt is a possibility for McNeil.

“He and I have had some good conversations. We're going to play it by ear,” Chizik said. “We're going to play it week-by-week. He's not ready to play this week, obviously. And of course the hourglass has been turned over. So we're coming down into the last quarter of the season, certainly after this week. So we won't rule anything out. There's possibilities both ways.”

GOING HOME: True freshman WR DeAngelo Benton is already familiar with LSU’s Tiger Stadium even before he plays his first collegiate football game there.

That’s because Benton signed with LSU twice out of high school. Both times, however, he failed to qualify academically. After the first attempt, he went to Hargrave Military Academy. Another failed attempt later, Benton instead chose to finish his qualification back at Bastrop (La.) High School rather than going the junior college route.

Benton again leaned toward LSU throughout his recruiting process this year. During the final hours before National Signing Day, though, LSU rescinded his scholarship offer.

The next day, Benton signed with Auburn.

Now he’s preparing for his first game as a Tiger at LSU – only he will be wearing an Auburn jersey instead of donning an LSU uniform.

“I'm sure he'll be excited to go back to the state and play as anybody would be,” Chizik said. “I don't think that that's something that's got him uptight or anything of that nature.”

Receivers coach Trooper Taylor said he has seen an energized Benton this week.

“I told him if he’d been practicing like this the whole time he’d probably be starting,” Taylor said. “He is definitely excited. He has a lot of ties to a lot of guys, and plus he gets to see his family.
“The big deal is making sure he stays calm and doesn’t try to do too much or get carried away. As a coach, you have to balance those two things out. He has to understand we’re on a business trip. This is not a trip for a reunion. But he’s mature. He’s an older receiver, anyway. I think he understands that.”

REUNITED: Auburn line coach Jeff Grimes fondly remembers the days he spent working for current LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.

Crowton, then the head coach at BYU, hired Grimes to work for him in 2004. However, Crowton was fired after the season.

Grimes stayed on as the offensive line coach before moving to Colorado and, eventually, Auburn.

“We worked together for a year there, his last year at BYU,” Grimes said. “Great guy. One of my favorite people in all of coaching. He was not only the head coach there, he was the offensive coordinator, so he and I worked together very closely together there for a year. Number one, a great person, great family man, just thoroughly enjoyed working for him. Still stay in touch with him. But also a great offensive mind, really knows football, knows how to attack a defense, very creative. So I'm looking forward to seeing him.”

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