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SUNDAY, MARCH 11, 2007
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AU offensive line concerns Tuberville

From Staff Reports

AUBURN — Tristan Davis rushed for 79 yards on 20 carries, and Brad Lester ran 18 times for 67 yards as Auburn went through its second scrimmage of spring drills Saturday.

Also, Ben Tate went for 48 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, and Carl Stewart rushed for 37 yards on seven attempts and scored once.

And yet, head coach Tommy Tuberville still is worried about his offensive line.

“We still aren’t mentally tough enough on offense to make any drives, and we’re making way too many mistakes,” Tuberville said after the 140-play scrimmage. “Our offensive line still hasn’t improved enough to keep any consistent drives going.”

Starting quarterback Brandon Cox finished with 110 yards on 10-of-22 passing. Neil Caudle was 6-of-10 for 163 yards and two scores, and Steven Ensminger finished 7-of-17 for 129 yards and an interception.

Caudle’s two touchdowns weren’t short ones. His first one covered 64 yards to Luster Lewis, while the other went for 22 yards to John Cubelic.

The Tigers got a good day from receiver Rod Smith, a junior who could fill the leadership role that the departed Courtney Taylor once held.

Smith caught a team-high four passes for 57 yards, drawing the praise of Tuberville.

“He’s about the only receiver we have that can catch a ball right now,” Tuberville said. “The rest are too inconsistent to even think about throwing the ball to.”

As for the defense, Tuberville said that unit is far ahead of the offense.

“Our defensive guys looked a lot tougher physically and mentally, and that’s why we’re doing so much better defensively,” Tuberville said. “I’m excited about what we’re doing on defense. We’re playing with speed and we’re playing with mental toughness. That’s what it takes.”

Junior linebacker Chris Evans recorded 11 tackles, while sophomore safety Aairon Savage and redshirt freshman linebacker Craig Stevens each added 10 stops.

But maybe the most important development, at least as far as special teams is concerned, is that the Tigers had a kicker consistently connect on field goals.

Ross Gornall, a redshirt freshman, made all four attempts, hitting from 45, 37, 31 and 44 yards.

Auburn will take Sunday and Monday off before practicing the rest of the week.

“We’ve got some work to do next week,” Tuberville said.

A-Day is Saturday at 1 p.m. in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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