By Jay Coulter
We’ve waited a long time to say these words: Game week is here! All is right with the world.
It looks like Auburn will be dealing with more than a difficult schedule this year. They now must contend with the Corso curse. Over the weekend,ESPN Game Day did its preseason show and Lee Corso boldly predicted that Auburn would surprise everyone and win the SEC. Kirk Herbstreit picked the Tigers to win the SEC West and 104 year-old Lou Holtz said Auburn would beat Georgia at home. God help us!
And just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, our old friend Trev Alberts has left the witness protection program to predict that Auburn will face Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. See for yourself…
It looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer to see who the starting quarterback will be. Prior to fall practice, Tommy Tuberville said he wanted to name a starter after the first scrimmage. Now it looks like it may be Saturday before we know. Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin does not seem concerned.
“As far as who will start I don’t know,” said Franklin. “They are both good. For me it’s a very unique situation. I have never been in it before. I have never had anything like it before to where you’ve got two quality Division I quarterbacks that are both good leaders and both good players.
“Neither one of them have wilted under the pressure,” Franklin continued. “They have both gotten better. As of right now and picking one and saying this guy is the starter, we haven’t done that yet. We’ll have somebody that will go out there first on Saturday but the good thing is we’ve got Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. That’s more time to put into it. We’ll see what happens from there.”
The odds of offensive lineman Chaz Ramsey playing this year grow smaller by the hour. He hasn’t practiced all year and continues to nurse a bad back.
“We don’t have to make that decision for about three more weeks,” Tuberville said. “He’s totally resting right now. He’s rehabbing and not doing anything in terms of physical work with his back because he’s trying to get it calmed down.” Look for Byron Isom to start in Ramsey’s spot.
For a recruiting class that was deemed middle of the road by the experts, this year’s freshmen group has looked anything but average through four weeks of practice. After playing 12 freshmen last year; Tuberville will likely play at least six on Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe.
Most of those snaps will come in the defensive secondary, where the injury to Aaron Savage has created havoc for an already thin unit. Look for cornerbacks D’Antoine Hood and Neiko Thorpe along with safety Christian Thompson to see lots of playing time Saturday night. A third cornerback, Harry Adams is on the bubble and could face a redshirt season.
On the other side of the ball, look for two speedsters, wide receiver Philip Pierre-Louis and running back Eric Smith to see action. Pierre-Louis, who hails from Fort Lauderdale, may be the fastest player on the team. Don’t be surprised to see him also lineup as a punt and kick returner.
Smith’s status has improved after Tristan Davis suffered another foot injury. He hasn’t practiced in two weeks and is questionable for this weekend. That means Smith becomes the third tailback on the depth chart. The Seffner, Florida native has impressed coaches this year and Running Backs Coach Eddie Gran says he’s comfortable giving Smith a shot. He was the number 15th ranked running back in the country last year according to Scout Inc.