Auburn's First Scrimmage Focuses On The Running Game
March 4, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. - The running game was the focus of the Auburn football team's first scrimmage of the spring, as the Tigers participated in an hour and a half full-speed scrimmage Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. During the 100-play scrimmage, the Tigers tallied 74 rushing plays, while only attempting 26 passes.
"As you can tell by the way the scrimmage went, we came out to run the ball today, to see if we could run it and to see if we could stop the run," said head coach Tommy Tuberville. "It was a pretty good scrimmage. We made a lot of mistakes, and we played a lot of guys. We didn't hold the defense back. They did about everything that they've been taught the last few days. It was a good test. We won't know until we see the tape where we're at and what we need to work on.
"We've had a good first five days," said Tuberville of the first week of spring practice. "We saw a lot of improvement from some guys. I'm really pleased with guys like Tray Blackmon - he did a great job. We have a lot of speed, we just have to make sure we're in the right positions and come back tomorrow and make corrections."
The scrimmage pitted the first and second team offenses against their defensive counterparts. The offenses started from a variety of field locations including from their own 3-yard line.
Freshman Ben Tate was the leading rusher, gaining 61 yards on 13 attempts including a 20-yard scamper. Senior Kenny Irons ran for 54 yards on nine carries, sophomore Brad Lester had 39 yards on 13 rushes and junior Carl Stewart added 32 yards on 12 attempts. Senior Tre Smith scored the offense's lone touchdown on a 2-yard run.
"Our guys ran the ball hard," said Tuberville. "Our offense knew today we were going to run the ball. We didn't tell the defense that, but I think they kind of caught on as the scrimmage went on. The offense had the upper hand early, the defense had the upper hand late. That's a typical scrimmage."
The Auburn defense dominated much of the action, allowing just one touchdown throughout the scrimmage. Seven different players shared team-high honors with seven tackles each, including redshirt freshman linebacker Tray Blackmon, who made several big hits and also had two tackles for loss. Sophomore end Octavius Balkcom had seven stops including three for loss, while Eric Brock, Kevin Sears, Quentin Groves, Courtney Harden and Pat Sims also had seven tackles each. Junior cornerback Jonathan Wilhite had two pass breakups and intercepted a pass for the defense.
In limited duty, junior quarterback Brandon Cox completed 2-of-8 attempts for 11 yards. Sophomore Blake Field was 3-of-7 for 25 yards, while sophomore Calvin Booker threw for 24 yards, completing 2-of-9 passes. Senior tight end Cole Bennett was the lone player with more than one reception, hauling in two catches for 19 yards.
The Tigers will practice tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 p.m. CT before taking Monday off. Auburn's second full-scale scrimmage is slated for Saturday, March 11.
Auburn Player Quotes
RB Kenny Irons
On the progression of the offense...
On the offense's performance in the scrimmage...
On the leadership of the team...
QB Brandon Cox
On the scrimmage...
On the defensive effort today...
On the play of the interior defensive line...
LB Karibi Dede
On the younger defensive players...
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