Coach Tommy Tuberville says he is hoping the off-week will allow him to get two of his key players closer to full speed as they continue their recoveries from high ankle sprains.
Junior Courtney Taylor, the leading receiver for the Tigers last season, and sophomore Josh Thompson, the number one backup option at both noseguard and defensive tackle, were held out of practices last week even though both saw action in Auburn’s victory over South Carolina.
Taylor notes that he is a regular in the training room for several “slushes” a day, ice treatments on the injured ankle. He also notes that a trainer “pushes on me and that it hurts real bad.”
Taylor adds with a grin, “I don’t know what they are doing. I am just going with the flow. Whatever makes it feel better, I am all for it.”
The junior says that he has had ankle sprains before, but never a “high ankle sprain” like the current one he suffered on the opening series of Auburn’s victory over Ball State.
“I am trying to get it 100 percent,” says Taylor, who has 10 receptions for 127 yards this season. “Hopefully, this extra week will help me do that.”
Like Taylor, defensive lineman Josh Thompson is trying to get back to full speed for this week's game vs. the Razorbacks.
Next on the agenda for the Tigers, who are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the SEC, is a 6 p.m. contest on Saturday at Razorback Stadium, where Coach Houston Nutt’s Arkansas team will be waiting. The Razorbacks improved their record to 2-3 with a 44-15 victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night in Little Rock.
That contest will be the first road start for Auburn sophomore Brandon Cox. Taylor says he likes what he is seeing from the left-handed quarterback.
Taylor says that Cox has been a “huge” factor in the improvement of the AU offense since the opening night loss to Georgia Tech. Taylor says that Cox has developed into a steadying influence who has become an effective pocket passer.
“From the first game until now, we are a much better team and that is our goal,” Taylor says. “Brandon is a key part of that.”
The wide receiver says that he has respect for the job the redshirt sophomore is doing. “He’s got it from me. I am willing to go to war with that guy any day. He is our guy. He is a quarterback. I feel like he is a proven winner. He makes plays and he is not quick to have a meltdown in tough situations. That is what I like about him.”
Arkansas coach Houston Nutt's team is 0-2 in league games this season.
The Razorbacks built a 23-8 halftime lead on Louisiana-Monroe and put the game out of reach with three answered third quarter touchdowns before Nutt used his reserves in the final quarter vs. the Indians. The game almost ended in an identical score as ULM’s previous SEC road game at Georgia, a 44-7 loss, but the Indians added a TD with 33 seconds remaining.
Against ULM, Arkansas rushed for 316 yards and netted 436 total yards while the visitors had 348 yards, including 203 on the ground.