Auburn, Ala.--Barrett Trotter hasn’t played in a football game since the Class 5A state championship showdown last December.
Neil Caudle hasn’t played in a game since making a brief appearance in the closing moments of the Tennessee Tech game last November. The redshirt sophomore hasn’t been at QB with a game on the line since the 2005 season when he was a highly-recruited senior at Spain Park High in Birmingham.
Either quarterback could be in the mix for playing time if needed on Thursday night when the Auburn Tigers make their first ever road trip to play football vs. the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Following a 2 1/2-hour practice on Sunday evening that finished up under the lights, Caudle and true freshman Trotter, who is also from Birmingham where he was a star at Briarwood Christian, continued to get reps at the quarterback position.
After practice Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville would only say that both of those players will join starting quarterback Kodi Burns on the trip to Morgantown this week. He isn’t revealing who the number two quarterback will be, which in Auburn’s case can be significant because throughout this season the Tigers have played two QBs.
“I think we got better,” Tuberville said when asked about the quarterbacks. “They are all working and doing a good job to just see how much game plan they can handle.” The Tigers put in approximately half of their game plan last week and are installing the rest this week at Sunday, Monday and Tuesday practices.
The Tigers normally travel with three quarterbacks on road trips, but might make it four this week when they leave for Morgantown on Wednesday if junior Chris Todd is on the travel squad.
“He is throwing the ball a little bit, not a lot,” said Tuberville. “We are not letting him throw deep. We are trying to get him all the way back.”
Todd, who has started five of Auburn’s seven games, was held out of most of the practice work in Auburn’s off-week last week to rest a shoulder that has been giving him problems going back to spring training.
“I want to get him completely healthy and give him a shot when he is 100 percent,” Tuberville said of Todd, who has been on the field for the installation of the game plan, but has had limited work.
Tuberville noted that he thought the Sunday practice was a good one after the Tigers returned from having Friday and Saturday off. Senior running back Tristan Davis agreed.
“I thought we had one of our better practices,” said Davis. “We needed the time off and you can tell the guys are excited about getting ready for the trip to West Virginia.”
Davis said he stayed on campus to get treatment on a hand problem that has bothered him in recent weeks. The senior said he is totally over his concussion that sidelined him earlier in the season as well as his foot problems and hamstring injuries that also slowed him earlier this year.
Davis noted that the seniors, at their regular team meeting on Sunday, talked about not wanting to end their final seasons with the team struggling. "We are to trying to make a point to the older guys...like play of us," he said. "The last couple groups of seniors didn't have to go out on a bad note. They went out on a smile on their face with wins against Bama.
We tried to stress that point that we can win out the rest of the season. We can beat everybody that is left on the schedule and we can also lose to everybody so we are just going to have to grind. Every week is very important from this point on."
The senior running back said the Tigers have simplified their offensive game plan going into the West Virginia game to make sure everybody understands their assignments and said the Tigers have even done some huddling in practice, although he added he doesn't know if they will do that vs. WVU after being exclusively no-huddle all year.
The Mountaineers of the Big East Conference were also off this past weekend and will bring a 4-2 record into the contest vs. the 4-3 Tigers.
Junior cornerback Walter McFadden agreed with Tuberville that the break was needed before the Tigers got back on the field for a busy practice in shorts, helmets and shoulder pads.
“Today, we looked like a brand new team,” McFadden said. “We were fresh. We were completing all of our assignments. There was a lot of enthusiasm out there, everybody talking. I heard the offense being real loud down there so I believe today was a great practice for us.”
Walt McFadden has started all seven games for the Tigers this season.
McFadden said he was glad to see his fellow starter at cornerback, Jerraud Powers, back on the field doing drills, even though the preseason All-SEC defensive back was held out of about half of the drills.
“He is doing great,” McFadden said. “He is eager to get back out on the field. Today I saw him out there back-pedaling doing his thing. Most likely, he should be back this week.”
“Not all of the news was good on the injury front. Antoine Carter, who missed practice last week and the Arkansas game with an ankle problem, is doubtful for Thursday night’s game at WVU that will kick off shortly after 6:30 p.m. CDT with TV coverage on ESPN.
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