Part 3, AU Football Scrimmage Notes, Quotes

Rod Smith

Wide receiver Rod Smith discusses the scrimmage and more news and notes are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior walk-on Rod Smith knows as well as any member of the 2008 Auburn football team what it feels like to get the good word from Tommy Tuberville that you are now a scholarship player.

On Saturday head football coach Tuberville announced that fifth-year senior Jonathan Vickers from Athens High School is the newest scholarship player for the Tigers. Vickers is running second team at safety.

"That is great news about Vickers," Smith tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "He came in with me. We walked on together my freshman year. It is always great to see another walk-on be able to accomplish his dream.

"I think he can help us this year," says Smith, who has a good chance to move into the Top 10 lists in Auburn history for receiving yardage and receptions. "Vickers is a guy who has worked his tail off since he has been here, just like I have," the receiver notes. "It has finally paid off."

Smith also has reason to be happy about Auburn's second major scrimmage of the preseason. He caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Kodi Burns.

"I think it went pretty good today," Smith says of the scrimmage. "We started kind of slow on offense, but picked it up and began executing better and driving the ball down the field.

"Kodi had tagged me to run a little route we have," Smith says. "I stuttered the cornerback and ran a go and caught the touchdown. It was great execution between me and Kodi."

The receivers spent much of the scrimmage testing the backup defensive backups with the coaches already knowing how the front-line secondary can play. "I think they did a decent job of execution today," Smith says of the young defensive backs.

Wide receiver Quindarius Carr (85) runs with the football as walk-on defensive back Jereemy Flowers chases the redshirt freshman.

Looking at the big picture with the Tigers two weeks away from playing their opener, Smith says, "We just need to work on the little things. We need to have the right tempo to be a successful offense. We need to work on our execution, particularly on third downs. If we do that, I think we will be a pretty good offense and a pretty good defense."

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks to the Tigers on Saturday.

In other news and notes:

*Smith makes it clear he is impressed with freshman tailback Eric Smith, who had several power runs in the scrimmage. "He is very physical," the wide receiver says. "He will get you the extra yardage after the contact. We are going to really need him this year."

*Commenting on the competition for the No. 3 quarterback spot between Neil Caudle and Barrett Trotter, Smith says, "I thought the younger quarterbacks, Neil and (Trotter), did pretty good. Overall, I think the quarterbacks picked it up after we started off a little slow. We started executing on the passes and had a lot of completions."

*Speedy freshman Philip Pierre-Louis is getting a serious look as a kickoff returner and a punt returner. He got a chance to do both in scrimmage on Saturday and showed good hands. Another true freshman speedster, Harry Adams, returned a kickoff. Pierre-Louis is also making a splash at receiver.

"I feel like this offense is a great fit," Pierre-Louis says." It gets me in the open, it gets me mismatches against linebackers and safeties." He says Franklin's system is significantly different than the offense his team ran in high school on the way to winning a state title last year at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but says he is making the adjustment.

*Quarterback Kodi Burns notes that he is encouraged with how the wide receivers have continued their improvement trend that started in spring drills. One of the surprise standouts of spring training, senior James Swinton, has continued to improve through the first two weeks of preseason drills, the sophomore quarterback says. Swinton caught a touchdown pass in the scrimmage.

*Sixth-year senior noseguard Tez Doolittle has been a pleasant surprise with how well he has bounced back from his Achilles tendon injury suffered last August. Doolittle got to see some action with the first team defense backing up redshirt sophomore Mike Blanc, who continues to have a good preseason.

*While sophomore Antoine Carter had the big day among the defensive linemen with his pressure plays on the quarterbacks, another defensive end had some good plays, too. Redshirt sophomore Michael Goggans looks like a good bet to winning a starting spot at strongside defensive end.

*One of the players making a push for playing time at strongside end, true freshman Jomarcus Savage, had to leave the action early after hurting a shoulder. He finished the day with an ice pack on his shoulder watching the finish of the scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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