Better and better. The good thing about finding out that Eltoro Freeman was wearing a cast on his hand was that the coaches didn't seem all that worried about that. The bad thing turned up last night as we found out why ...
Chizik clarified LB Eltoro Freeman's injury. Apparently the cast on his right hand is not the reason he is not practicing right now. It's a hamstring injury. There is not set date for the sophomore's return to practice.A hamstring. Great. An injury that will likely nag at him all season and has to be given extra recuperation time to make sure it doesn't totally blow up on him. Wonderful. So let's see, assuming he'll be healthy again soon, Freeman would probably be replaced in the lineup by Great Story Pybus ...
Spencer Pybus is out with a concussion.%$&%! Seriously: %$&%! At least they've moved Dee Ford to LB so they've got a body back there to ...
Freshman Dee Ford said he's back at defensive end after spending about a week at linebacker.So ... we're back to a grand total of four practicing scholarship linebackers, then? And just two that aren't true freshmen? Tate is right: the reason Josh Bynes can't say who's working behind him is because nobody is playing behind him.
This is all going to work out beautifully.
The glass is half-empty. It was pretty sweet when alleged project/stopgap recruit Daren Bates showed up, started knocking heads, and wedged his way into the two-deep discussion at safety. But I don't know if I'm ready for this:
Chizik said true freshman safety Daren Bates is working some with the first team. He could press sophomores Mike Slade and Drew Cole for the starting job until Mike McNeil returns.Look, I don't care how impressive he's been, there's no way around this: for a true freshman who Auburn stole away from Arkansas St. to show up and threaten to grab a starting safety position is an awful sign. Bates is obviously much, much better than anyone but this random commenter thought he'd be, but his ascension still says just as much--if not more--about the failings of Mike Slade and Drew Cole as it does about what Bates has accomplished.
We do have this particular bright side, though: if he's making this kind of impression now, Bates (like camp surprise Neiko Thorpe before him) should be ready to give us three or four years of solid-to-outstanding contribution. (Before you use this opportunity to rag on the recruiting ratings, by the by, recall that Cole was as anonymous as three-stars get and that Slade wasn't viewed as a prize, either.)
Andy Bitter wrote a feature on Bates, his arrival at Auburn, and his summer preparations you can read here.
At least he's here. Chizik on Frenchy the latecomer:
Asked if Pierre-Louis has some catching up to do after missing 15 spring practices and 11 days in August, head coach Gene Chizik agreed but didn't elaborate: "Yes, that would be very fair to say."I'm not expecting him to see him before midseason, but that's more than I expected back when we figured we was off the team.
Good news? I'm trying really hard to find some. At least Chizik seemed encouraged by both the practice and the scrimmage film. That the offensive line is still healthy KNOCK ON ALL THE WOOD WITHIN REACH and looking like the line it should have been a year ago--by both Chizik's and Grimes's recent accounts, not to mention the spring game--is the best possible sign for the offense.
Other than that ... uh, Kodi thinks the Wildcat's going to be awesome, and I'm not going to disagree, but I'll also wait for a more unbiased source before getting too excited.
Really? Anthony Gulley is doing work at H-back. Which doesn't make sense at first, since the position (as I understand it) carries blocking assignments much of the time and Gulley is, um, "diminutive." Then again, the position also carries "grab a short pass and do something with it" assignments, and that Gulley should be able to handle with aplomb at some point in the future.
Well, that's reassuring. Chizik on Aubrey Phillips:
"Aubrey is into the swing of everything trying to rehab and just addressing some issues, medically, we’re really going to have to watch," Chizik said. "But he’s doing a great job. He’s in the flow of everything. He’s back in school. We’re very encouraged by where he’s at." Asked if Phillips will play football again, Chizik refused to speculate. "I’m fairly confident but I’m not a doctor so I have no idea," he said. "He’s doing really well."Sorry, but if we're still not even past the point where we know if Phillips will ever play football again, I can't bring myself to expect anything from Phillips's presence in Auburn. I'm glad he's feeling better and in class, but when he hits the practice field, then I'll start worrying about what he can do for the football team.