--New additions to the walking wounded: Tate, Zachery, Isom (!), Thorpe, Jonathan Evans (!!), newly-minted scholarship wideout John Cubelic, Jake Ricks. Clayton, Hood, Herring and Pybus, Eddins, and Roseman are all still out. The Toro was back in shells but apparently not fully participating just yet.
--If you know your linebacker math, you've already figured out that Evans's ding brings us to three operational 'backers again, with Harris Gaston probably also still nursing whatever it was that kept him out for a while ... which perhaps explains why walk-on Ashton Richardson was seeing time with the first-team yesterday.
--Ted Roof, I've been hailing you as a linebacker guru since the day you was hired. You make chicken salad out of this heapin' helpin' of chicken excrement, and I'll say that's a reputation that is 100-percent fully earned.
--Not surprisingly, Chizik said he and Roof have discussed ways of putting together that salad. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like they've come up with much:
Apparently no one is going to be moving to linebacker.Yes, nickel, because we do have a lot of depth in the secondary! Safeties and corners galore! [*sobs quietly*]
"Not right now," Chizik said. "Those type of candidates aren't on our team. They're somewhere else right now."
His assessment was not rosy.
"Obviously, we can play some nickel and things to help us. Take a linebacker out and play with two instead of three. Other than that, there's really no other options right now."
--Seriously though, with all due respect to walk-on linebacker Ashton Richardson, sticking Mike Slade or Demond Washington on the field might be preferable to walk-on linebacker Ashton Richardson. And several teams on the schedule--Mississippi St., Ball State, maybe West Virginia, Kentucky at times--will play from a three-wide base offense. So maybe there'll be something to this.
--Zac Etheridge was playing as the nickelback according to Andy Bitter, which I assume would move Bates and Slade to the safety slots.
--There is some good news re: Thorpe: Walt McFadden said (amongst many other things) Thorpe's absence was just an ear infection.
--With Isom missing--the first time one of the starting five on the offensive line has missed time, saints be praised--your first lineman off the bench was ... drum roll please ... John Sullen! Good for him.
--But bad for Auburn? From Bitter again:
(Sullen) told us he weighed in at 357 pounds by the end of his senior year. Naturally, the reactions from the coaches is not printable, even on a blog. He's at 332 now and making progress.Well ... OK, progress. That's good. (By the way, the other guy mentioned as working at that right guard spot? Walk-on Jorell Bostrum. 1) Eek 2) Why did no one tell me we had a kid on the team with an incredible name like "Jorell Bostrum"? If he ever has a male child, will he be Superman?)
--Jay Tate said The Toro has a new black cast he described as "menacing." I don't know whether to hope the cast comes off by the Tech game or not.
--All right, time for some good news, and there's a good chunk of it in this Goldberg post. Your 8/20 positives include:
1. Ryan Pugh is happy with how the offense is coming together and specifically said the o-line had a solid day in the last scrimmage.
2. Chizik had nice things to say about both Byrum and Durst. After the placekicking uncertainty to close '08 and Durstgate in the offseason, it is nice to have that much clarity at positions that important.
3. Maybe it's just coachspeak, but Chizik doesn't strike me as the kind to say he was happy with a practice if he wasn't honestly happy about it. And he has been happy about the overall "tempo" of practice. I know it's probably a little weird for everyone to have these night practices, but with a team as young as this one is in so many areas, Auburn can't afford to lose any reps to the heat. So: in my extremely unprofessional opinion, it's a good idea.
4. Tracy Rocker spoke to the press for the first time in a while and had some praise for Nick Fairley and (you get one guess on this one) Nosa Eguae. Eguae, like Clayton and Goggans, is getting work at both end and tackle.
--According to Lee Ziemba, the team started watching La. Tech film yesterday. (Also, he likes Toomer's lemonade.)
--I'm not going to steal even more of Bitter's post by quoting Luper on Taylor's 2:30 a.m. whale-watching habits, so I'll just say I LOL'd, encourage you to read it yourself, and leave it at that.