News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Surgery will interrupt Powers' spring drills
Ex-Decatur High standout's shoulder needs work as Auburn begins practice

By Bradley Handwerger ∑ 340-2462

No Courtney Taylor. No Kenny Irons. And for at least spring, no Jerraud Powers.

As Auburn opens up spring practice Tuesday, the Tigers will begin moving on from losing Taylor and Irons, two emotional leaders who used up their eligibility in 2006.

Powers, a former Decatur High standout, is still there. And he'll be able to practice.

What he won't be able to do is participate in any contact drills.

The rising sophomore had surgery on his shoulder Feb. 11 to repair an injury that occurred during August practice.

"I'm going to still practice — I'm just going to be non-contact," said Powers, a defensive back.

As the season moved on after the initial injury, Powers began to feel better about his shoulder as it hurt less and less.

"As the season went on, my shoulder stopped bothering me," Powers said. "I'm thinking, 'The trainer Arnold (Gamber), they'll forget about it since it's not giving me that much trouble.' Right after the bowl game, the first week we got back, they're like, 'We're going to do the surgery Feb 11.' "

Coming off an 11-2 season that included the fifth straight win over Alabama and a 21-17 win over Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl, Auburn has a lot of questions.

Who will step up in place of Taylor?

Can running backs Brad Lester, Ben Tate and Mario Fannin replace the production of Irons?

Will there be anyone to step up and fill in for four offensive linemen who are no longer at Auburn?

And with David Irons also using up his eligibility last season, who will step up and be the Tigers' shut-down cornerback?

For the next two and a half weeks, head coach Tommy Tuberville will find out how far along quarterback Brandon Cox has recovered from the multiple leg injuries he sustained last season. Tuberville will find out if the defense will be a step quicker now that defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is in his second season.

The pieces are there to step in for what the Tigers lost.

Powers hopes he is the guy who steps up in the defensive backfield to replace Irons.

But for the second year in a row, Powers will go through spring practice coming off of an injury.

He broke a bone in his foot during his true freshman season.

This time, it's shoulder surgery.

"Last year, my foot was bothering me," Powers said. "Just getting one year under my belt and coaches seeing what I can do, I'm looking at it as a different perspective. I'm angling for that starting corner spot. I don't care if my shoulder is hurt. I want to be out there with my teammates."

Auburn's spring game is March 17 at 1 p.m. in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn starts spring drills

  • Starts: Tuesday.

  • Spring game: March 17, 1 p.m.

  • Last seasonís record: 11-2, including 21-17 win over Nebraska in Cotton Bowl.

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