War Eagle Extra has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 10 seconds. If not, visit
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/wareagleextra
and update your bookmarks.

September 30, 2011

Auburn-South Carolina: Who has the edge?

We’re back with the weekly matchups post, then it’s off to Columbia. It’s the first game I’ve covered there, so it should be an enjoyable trip. Without further ado, here’s who has the edge:

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Auburn at South Carolina

  • Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.
  • When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Records: Auburn 3-1, 1-0 SEC; South Carolina 4-0, 2-0 SEC
  • Series: Auburn leads 8-1-1

Auburn passing game vs. South Carolina secondary

Barrett Trotter seems to have regressed a bit, going from a 71.7 percent passer the first two games to a 52.8 percent passer the last two. Obviously, that’s not all his fault (the pass protection hasn’t been great), but he’ll need to be more accurate if Auburn hopes to challenge South Carolina. Trovon Reed is out with a shoulder injury, putting freshman Quan Bray in as a reverse/screen guy at receiver. Auburn’s helped out by tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen‘s likely return from an ankle injury. Emroy Blake is a constant threat. The Gamecocks are 13th nationally in pass defense, giving up 165.0 yards per game, although playing run-first Navy and offensively-challenged Vanderbilt help those numbers. All-SEC cornerback Stephon Gilmore is a high-risk/high-reward kind of guy (Darvin Adams torched him last year in the SEC title game). Strong safety D.J. Swearinger, who I believe was featured in the HBO show “Deadwood,” is second on the team with 23 tackles. Edge: South Carolina.

Auburn running backs vs. South Carolina linebackers

More Mike Dyer, more Mike Dyer, more Mike Dyer. That’s what the coaches have said is the plan, although Tigers fans haven’t seen it yet. Dyer, who went for 151 yards on 16 carries against Clemson, ran only 14 times for 68 yards against FAU (although to be fair, you don’t run your workhorse back 30 times against FAU and expect him to make it through the SEC season). He’s averaging 6.9 yards a carry. That’s over a yard better than South Carolina stud Marcus Lattimore. The Gamecocks are led by Antonio Allen at linebacker. The senior leads the team with 39 tackles and is tied for the conference lead with three forced fumbles. Shaq Wilson is back after playing only one game last year — the first Auburn matchup — because of a hamstring injury. Edge: Auburn.

Auburn offensive line vs. South Carolina defensive line

The Tigers haven’t found that cohesion up front that makes for a good offensive line. Trotter has taken too many hits the last few weeks. He was sacked three times by FAU and pressured 12 more. John Sullen should be back at right guard after missing last week with an injury, but there aren’t many options for the group personnel-wise. What they’ve played is what they have. The Gamecocks have eight sacks in four games, decent numbers. But the biggest threat is 6-foot-6, 254-pound freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 recruit in the country last year. He has four sacks already and has caused three fumbles. Put him on a line that includes Devin Taylor (first-team All-SEC, 6-foot-7 defensive end), Travian Robertson (23 stats at DT) and Melvin Ingram (13.5 career sacks) and this is a fearsome group. Edge: South Carolina.

South Carolina passing game vs. Auburn secondary

Which Stephen Garcia will show up — the one who threw for 110 yards and a touchdown and added two rushing touchdowns in relief against East Carolina? Or the one who threw four interceptions against Vanderbilt? It’s usually all or nothing for Garcia, who has three touchdowns to seven interceptions this season. It helps to have 6-foot-4 receiver Alshon Jeffery on the outside. The junior has 14 catches for 246 yards and a touchdown, modest totals compared to his 1,500-yard season in 2010, but he remains a threat nonetheless. Lattimore (12 catches, 139 yards) is a huge threat in the screen game, which USC utilizes often. Auburn’s secondary barely held FAU to under 200 yards (199) after giving up 386 yards and four touchdowns against Clemson. Freshmen corners Jermaine Whitehead and Robenson Therezie have been promising. It’ll be interesting to see if they get more playing time with Chris Davis a game-time decision because of an ankle injury. Edge: South Carolina.

South Carolina running backs vs. Auburn linebackers

Lattimore is a beast. He hits the hole, he breaks tackles, he gets tough yards and he touches the ball 40 times a game. He’s everything you want in a back and Auburn’s going to have a tough time stopping him. Tigers MLB Jake Holland has made some progress over the weeks. He had three tackles and an interception against FAU. But Auburn will need to be sound with its tackling to have any chance against Lattimore, not necessarily its forte. Jonathan Evans (shoulder) could return, which would be a boost. He made 14 tackles in the opener against Utah State before getting hurt. Auburn needs all the help it can get here. Edge: South Carolina.

South Carolina offensive line vs. Auburn defensive line

The Gamecocks have some experience up front, with their five starters combining to make 90 career starts. They’ve paved the way for USC to run for 214.5 yards per game, 27th best nationally. They’ve allowed five sacks in four game, which puts them 35th nationally. The group might not have a standout, but it has played well together. Auburn is still figuring things out on its defensive front. Losing Dee Ford for the year was a blow to the rush ends. Corey Lemonier, who is coming off his best game yet, will start, but it thrusts redshirt freshman LaDarius Owens into a backup role. The tackles are still an issue. Jeffrey Whitaker has done OK, but Ken Carter hasn’t been getting much push. True freshman Angelo Blackson continues to come along behind him. He might steal more snaps this week. Edge: South Carolina.

Auburn return units vs. South Carolina coverage teams

Teams have kicked away from Tre Mason the last few weeks. We’ll see if that trend continues. He’s second in the SEC, averaging 29.4 yards per return. Bray takes over for Reed at punt return too. It might not be a dropoff. Reed was only averaging 5.2 yards per return. The Gamecocks are 78th nationally on kick return defense and 72nd on punts, not great numbers overall. Edge: Auburn.

South Carolina return units vs. Auburn coverage teams

South Carolina has some athletes in the return game. Ace Sanders already has a 68-yard punt return to his credit this year. Bruce Ellington has been less effective returning kicks (22.8 avg.). He probably won’t touch the ball anyway. Auburn’s Cody Parkey has 15 touchbacks this season, more than the team has had the last two years. Punter Steven Clark is coming into his own, averaging 43.7 yards a punt, but the Tigers are still giving up 10.3 yards per return (although they’ve only allowed three). Edge: Auburn.

Kickers

Parkey missed his first field goal last week, but it was from 47. He’s still 6-for-7 this year. South Carolina’s Jay Wooten is 2-for-3, with a long of 49. This is his first year handling field goal duties. Edge: Auburn.

Coaches

We’ve got two national championship caliber coaches facing off once again. Gene Chizik won it last year; Steve Spurrier in 1996 with Florida. Chizik has the better head-to-head matchup, winning both games last year. Spurrier has the better pedigree, with a 190-73-2 career record and six SEC championships on his resume (albeit none since 2000). Both have standout coordinators they’re paying a lot of money to — Gus Malzahn on offense at Auburn; Ellis Johnson on defense at South Carolina. It’s tough to tip the balance here one way or another. Edge: Push.

Prediction

South Carolina is beatable, as Navy proved two weeks ago in a 24-21 loss in Columbia. You never know what you’re going to get from Garcia, and Auburn, at least last year, did a decent job of limiting the damage from Lattimore. But this is an inexperienced and struggling Tigers defense, one that has not stopped the run this year. That’s not how you want to be playing going up against one of the premier running backs in the nation. I’d imagine Auburn will sell out to stop the run, but that might open things up for Jeffery in the passing game. It’s not a great choice. Offensively, the Tigers will need to lean on Dyer but also get some balance. South Carolina’s defensive line is pretty strong. If it can disrupt Trotter’s rhythm in the passing game, it might not matter how many carries Dyer has. Add in the road factor and I don’t particularly like this matchup for the Tigers. Prediction: South Carolina 33, Auburn 23.

September 29, 2011

Dee Ford out for the season following surgery

The reports are true: reserve defensive end Dee Ford is out for the season after having back surgery.

Ford has surgery for a herniated disc, several websites reported last night. Head coach Gene Chizik never addressed Ford’s status this week, although to be fair, he was never specifically asked about Ford.

A school spokesman confirmed Thursday that Ford is out for the year.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

The junior was a backup to Corey Lemonier at rush end but had been effective, with seven tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack in three games.

Ford sat out the Florida Atlantic game with the injury. The junior hasn’t redshirted. Because he was injured in the first half of the season and played in less than 30 percent of Auburn’s games, he’s eligible for a medical redshirt.

He is the second rush end Auburn has lost for the year, joining redshirt freshman Justin Delaine. Redshirt freshman LaDarius Owens, a converted linebacker, is expected to fill Ford’s spot.

Read a replay of today’s live chat

Good chat today: 300 readers, 169 comments, lots of non-chain restaurant talk. Read the replay below.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

September 28, 2011

Video: Football all day for Quan Bray, what you sign up for and a talented South Carolina trio

Here’s a video from Wednesday night interviews. It’s got wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor, defensive line coach Mike Pelton and safeties coach Tommy Thigpen.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook. Also join my live Auburn chat Thursday at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT. I’ll have a link will be up in the morning.

Late night notes: Cornerback Chris Davis will be a game-time decision against South Carolina

Cornerback Chris Davis will travel with the team to South Carolina, but whether or not he’ll be able to play will go right up to game time.

The sophomore didn’t dress for the Florida Atlantic game after leaving the Clemson game twice two weeks ago, first after getting kneed in the head and later after getting his leg rolled up. His ankle is the primary concern.

“He has run around a little bit out there, but there’s still a lot of work to go before he can go to perform,” head coach Gene Chizik said.

“Right now we’re working him little by little,” cornerbacks coach Phillip Lolley said. “It’s no different than a very good hitter in baseball: timing, everything. Just trying to take it a step at a time and look for whether he can help us this weekend, and be an asset to us.”

Davis has been one of Auburn’s most effective defensive players this season, with 17 tackles and one pass breakup in three games.

With Auburn’s defensive backs having to go up against South Carolina’s talented group of receivers, especially 6-foot-4 All-American Alshon Jeffery, Lolley wants to make sure Davis is completely ready.

“We’re going to make sure he’s 100 percent,” Lolley said. “I don’t want him out there guarding those receivers unless he is.”

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook. Also join my live Auburn chat Thursday at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT. I’ll have a link will be up in the morning.

Here are more notes and quotes after talking to assistants Wednesday night:

  • Lolley has a high regard for Jeffery. “Trying to guard him one-on-one in this league has been trouble for everybody,” he said. “Us being young guys, somebody asked me, ‘Who are you going to put on him?’ and I said, ‘Well, does it really matter?’ All of them are going to have to take their shots at playing him.”
  • One more Lolley quote on Jeffery: ” Every tool you have in your toolchest, you better use. … And they know that if you spend all your time trying to cover him, it just leaves one less guy in the box to stop (MarcusLattimore. Pick your poison.”
  • Speaking of Lattimore, let’s begin the “heap praise on Marcus Lattimore” portion of today’s blog.
  • D-line coach Mike Pelton: “Last year, more straight line, hit the hole. This time, his vision has improved so much. He seems things you wouldn’t think a back could see. He’s been here before. He knows. You see him finishing runs. He knows now how to change that gear and get by people. I don’t know if you can even stop a guy like that. You just try to keep him from just taking over the game.”
  • Lolley: “He’s the very best I’ve seen in the league thus far. Period. End of story. A great running back. It’s like I told all of our guys yesterday, I said, ‘There’s guys that claim to be running backs and then there’s running backs.’ There’s guys that’s fast, guys that’s quick, guys that’s bulldozers, and I said, ‘He’s all the above.’ He can do it all.”
  • Safeties coach Tommy Thigpen called Lattimore “a Heisman Trophy winner at the running back position,” adding “he’s going to carry the ball 35-40 times a game. He’s that kind of guy. The longer the game goes, the stronger he gets. This is truly our first test in seeing a guy of his caliber.”
  • Thigpen was all about doling out the praise. He said Stephen Garcia is a quarterback “that you’re hesitant to blitz because he has a way of getting out of traffic.” He also said Jeffery “is probably the best one-on-one guy out there in space. Somehow he always comes down with the ball.”
  • Thigpen said when Garcia’s hot, he’s hot. But when he’s not, you can force him into mistakes. “He’s gone from one game when he’s thrown three or four interceptions, and it’s not uncommon for him the next week and throw for 400 yards,” Thigpen said. “You just don’t know which guy will show up. But the kid is a proven winner.”
  • How do Auburn’s coaches feel about having true freshman Quan Bray at punt return? “Very confident,” special teams coordinator Jay Boulware said. “We wouldn’t put him back there if we weren’t. There are going to be some growing pains, whether they come this week or three weeks down the road, but I feel very confident in him being back there.”
  • Wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor, who oversees the punt return game, is high on Bray. “Quan is always excited,” he said. “The guys in the room are always trying to settle him down. The kid loves football. He’d do it all day.”
  • Taylor is obviously happy with Emory Blake‘s play. “He also understands the big picture — when I have chance to make a play, I have to make that play,” Taylro said. “While most people look at that as pressure, he looks at it as opportunity. That’s not something you can teach. Some guys have that, some guys don’t. I think that’s a testament to growing up in a football family.”
  • Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes doesn’t have any changes in mind for his starting group this week. “But I’ve made changes in the lineup as late as game eight or nine,” he said. “So I want the older guys to feel the pressure that they don’t have anything sewn up and I want the younger guys to feel the hope that if they continue to develop, that there might be a spot for them.”
  • But … we asked him about how RG John Sullen (undisclosed injury) has done this week and he told us that’s a question for Chizik, which usually isn’t a good sign. Chad Slade would start for Sullen if he can’t go.
  • Grimes is impressed with South Carolina’s defensive front. “They’re just really, really fast and athletic,” he said. “When you look at those guys across the board, they can all run. You can tell that they’ve placed an emphasis on recruiting guys that are athletes and then teaching them how to be defensive linemen or linebackers.”
  • Grimes was asked if he was disappointed with the line’s physical play. “I think until we get to where I want this group to be, I’m always going to say yes,” he said. “We’re nowhere near where I would like for it to be.”
  • Pelton agreed with Chizik’ s assessment that DE Corey Lemonier had his best game yet against FAU (6 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack). “I don’t think Corey has a ceiling when it comes to his talent,” he said.
  • To put Auburn’s youth in perspective, Pelton said the difference between some of his youngsters and veteran linemen is “about 3,000 snaps” (obviously that includes practice). His freshmen are in the hundreds. “They’re going to take their lumps,” he said. “Sooner or later, we’re going to be the guys with 3,000 reps and it’ll be very exciting to see those guys.”
  • DE Joel Bonomolo returned from a back injury recently. It doesn’t sound like he’ll have too much of an impact, though. ” He’s an effort guy,” Pelton said. “He’s really trying. It’s going really fast for him right now. He can get there if you don’t ask him to do too much. “
  • Pelton on his group as a whole: “I know that ain’t pleasing to some people right now and we ain’t as sexy as we were last year, but the guys are all working.”
  • With TE Philip Lutzenkirchen out against FAU, Auburn got a long look at freshman Brandon Fulse. Boulware described him as “raw” and “young” but thought the experience was good for him. “As the game went on, he settled in in the second half and kind of started playing kind of how he practices a little bit, being a little more physical, being a little bit more aggressive,” Boulware said. “We feel like we’ve got a quality backup there with him.”

September 27, 2011

Video: Wanting the ball, pressing Alshon Jeffery and just what everybody signed up for

Here’s a video from tonight’s festivities that features offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, running back Mike Dyer, cornerback Ryan White and defensive end Nosa Eguae.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Late night notes: Getting Mike Dyer more carries still the plan for Auburn’s offense

A week after Auburn’s coaches said they’d like to get running back Mike Dyer the ball more, the plan remains the same.

The Tigers didn’t quite follow through on their plan to give Dyer a heavier workload against Florida Atlantic. The sophomore carried 14 times for 68 yards, a dropoff from the previous week.

“At the same time we haven’t had the number of plays like we talked about earlier,” said offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, referring to the fact that Auburn only ran 62 plays. “So the more plays we have the more touches he’ll have. But he is definitely a factor.”

Coaches have talked about Dyer being a 25- to 30-carry back, something he did regularly in high school but hasn’t approached in college.

In fact, Dyer has only gotten more than 20 carries three times in his career, all last year. He went for 100 yards on 23 carries in the first South Carolina game, 180 yards on 21 carries at Ole Miss and 143 on 22 carries against Oregon in the BCS title game, earning offensive MVP honors.

While fans have been vocal about the sophomore getting more carries, Dyer hasn’t lobbied for anything.

“I’m ready to carry it as many times as my coach asks me to,” he said. “I would like to get the ball. Anybody who wants to be a leader on offense would like the ball more. I’ll just play my role in the game.”

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Here are more notes and quotes from Tuesday’s late interviews:

  • Dyer and South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore are always going to be compared, considering they were both highly-touted backs in the 2009 signing class (and nearly teammates at Auburn). Dyer doesn’t look at the game and him vs. Lattimore, however. He won’t look up state after. “Somebody might tell me, but I don’t normally look at stats,” he said. “Not even stats of myself. I play for Auburn and our crowd and the coaches and my family. It’s not about stats or anything like that. It’s about trying to win.”
  • While we’re talking carries, here’s how they break down for Lattimore and Dyer by game. Lattimore: 23, 27, 37, 20. Dyer: 14, 18, 16, 14. “Later on in the season, I’ll probably be more fresh than some of the running backs who carry more than I do,” Dyer said. “Still, when the game’s on the line everybody wants the ball. They want to be that key leader on the offense.”
  • Dyer has noticed teams scheming for him more now that Cam Newton is gone. “I notice that when they move from the strong side to the weak side, they put more people the side we run to,” he said. “I notice how they line up differently against our plays, the scheming they do to us.”
  • Why did the offense struggle against FAU? “We were just overconfident about the game,” Dyer said. “One of those games where we thought we could just go out there and win big.” An honest answer. I like it.
  • Malzahn is impressed with the South Carolina defensive front, starting with the guys Auburn faced twice last year. “Then they throw in the young kid (Jadaveon Clowney), and he can really play,” Malzahn said. “He’s very athletic and his motor runs very high.”
  • Kiehl Frazier continues to impress Malzahn with his composure. It’s why the Tigers keep giving him a little bit larger role by the week, although it’s mostly limited to the Wildcat right now. “Really ran the ball inside well last week and protected the football,” Malzahn said. “He’s a real calm kid and we’re just trying to expand his package each week and add to it. But just so far, so good. He’s got a chance to help us.”
  • He threw his first pass last week. Don’t rule that out. “He can throw it, there’s no doubt,” Malzahn said. “We’ve just got to be selective on what we feel like he’s ready to do. Each week that expands more and more and we’re getting to where we can really trust him.”
  • How important is tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen to the Auburn offense? Very. “At his position, we ask him to do a lot of things,” Malzahn said. “Last week, we had three different guys try to play his one position. That tells you how important he is to us. He’s like a coach on the field and at that position he’s really kind of like a quarterback in a way with a lot of things we ask him to do.”
  • We asked Malzahn about center/blocking tight end Blake Burgess trying to catch his eye by running some pre-practice routes. Gus laughed out loud. “Yeah, he got my attention,” he said. “I saw him on the ball machine.”
  • Flipping to defense, Auburn has a big challenge in stopping 6-foot-4 receiver Alshon Jeffery, who cornerback Ryan White called an “NFL-bound guy. White is only 5-foot-11, so getting physical with Jeffery at the line will be a key. “From what I’ve seen, he can’t get off press (coverage),” White said. “So that’s what we’re coming in with. We’ve got to put our hands on him and different people on him.”
  • Cody Parkey missed his first field goal Saturday. White, the holder, took the blame for letting the play clock get down too far. “He had to rush it,” White said. “I think that’s why he missed it. He should still be 100 percent right now.”
  • South Carolina should have extra motivation to beat Auburn after losing twice to the Tigers last year. Then again, a lot of folks have motivation to beat the defending national champs. “Anywhere we go is going to be hard,” White said. “So I’m not expecting this game to be too much different.”
  • White on Auburn’s brutal upcoming October schedule: “We plan on being 4-0 after October.” (The Tigers actually have five games, so I assume he’s talking about the first four.)
  • Defensive end Nosa Eguae is looking forward to these upcoming games. “This is what we all signed up for,” he said.
  • Auburn will probably be underdogs — and pretty big ones — in all four games. “What they think really doesn’t have anything to do with us,” Eguae said. “We’re a family in our locker room. We know exactly what we need to do to be successful, and we’re just going to go out there and do it. We could care less what outsiders think.”

Video: One-guy mess-up, chasing Beasley and ‘tackling is tackling, no matter who you tackle’

Here’s a video from this afternoon. It has wide receiver Emory Blake and safety Erique Florence. Back with more later.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Early afternoon notes: Auburn knows challenge awaits from ‘big, fast’ South Carolina defense

Auburn quarterback Barrett Trotter has a lot of respect for the South Carolina defense he’ll face this Saturday, knowing full well what to expect from the Gamecocks.

“They’re obviously going to be big, fast, strong, all the characteristics of the SEC,” he said. “We’ve got to get ready. We’ve got to prepare for them because they’re going to kick us in the mouth if we don’t.”

South Carolina enters the game with the fourth-best defense in the SEC, giving up 298.3 yards per game. Although the Gamecocks gave up lots of yards in wins against East Carolina, Georgia and Navy, they held Vanderbilt to 77 total yards last week in a 21-3 victory.

Freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the nation’s top recruit last winter, has been a terror, with 16 tackles, 5 TFLs and four sacks in his young career.

Auburn, meanwhile, is trying to get its offense on track after a 315-yard performance against struggling Florida Atlantic.

“It’s crazy because (offensive coordinator GusMalzahn always says one person will mess up the play, and really that’s what it’s been,” receiver Emory Blake said. “If we have one guy mess up here, then the play doesn’t work. …

“Everyone just needs to do their job and when we get that going, we’re going to be hard to stop.”

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Here are some more notes and quotes from Tuesday’s afternoon interviews:

  • Blake thinks freshman Quan Bray will do fine filling for an injured Trovon Reed. “Quan’s more than capable,” he said. “He’s been behind Trovon this whole year, and he’s had a great mentor ahead of him. As long as he doesn’t get the jitters and just plays the game the way he knows how, he’ll be fine.”
  • Auburn wide receiver screen game has struggled this year. Blake said defenses are scheming for it more and that Auburn hasn’t done a great job of blocking on the perimeter. But … “It just opens up other things in our offense,” he said. “If they want to keep doing that, that’s fine.”
  • Count Blake as one impressed by big  South Carolina Alshon Jeffery. “As the type of receiver, you have to think that nobody can cover you,” Blake said. “That’s the type mentality you have to have. Any one who goes against you, it doesn’t matter who it is, you have to have that mentality if you’re going to have a chance to win.”
  • Gamecocks CB Stephon Gilmore is a risk-reward type of corner who will be matched up some on Blake. “He’s very aggressive,” Blake said. “Darvin (Adams) did a really good job against him last year. Maybe he won’t play as aggressive this year. We’ll just see what he does when he comes out there.”
  • Blake played high school ball in Austin, so he’s all about Texas A&M joining the SEC. “I just hope we play at the 12th Man next year, so I can go back to Texas and play in front of all my friends and family,” he said. “It definitely would be a treat. I have a lot of friends that play for A&M and a lot of people that I know go to that school. So I’m definitely excited about that.”
  • We asked Blake if he knew Terry Beasley, the guy he’s chasing for consecutive games with a touchdown reception. “I’ve heard the name,” he said, sitting in front of a trophy case filled with Beasley memorabilia.
  • Linebacker Jake Holland thinks Marcus Lattimore is a more physical runner this year. “He seemed to have gained a few pounds and he seems to be more of a power back this year,” Holland said. “Anybody who is 220-plus is going to be hard to get on the ground.”
  • Freshman safety Erique Florence continues to come along as a player. He’s a big-bodied safety and tries to use it. “I feel like one of the better parts of me is my physicality,” he said. “I have to be physical, no matter what I’m doing. If I’m blocking, I want to block physical. If I’m hitting, I want to hit physical. My speed and all, put together with my physicality, that’s like a bonus for me. So I try to use it to my advantage.”
  • He’ll need to be physical to bring down Lattimore. “Playing against a back like that, he’s going to keep his feet moving, he’s going to run hard, he’s going to lower his hat,” Florence said. “You’ve got to be low to him and you’ve got to hit him with proper technique. If I catch him sideways, I’m going to take my shot at him, I’m going to try to run through him. If he’s got me squared up, I’m going to use my technique and try to drop him.”
  • Quote of the day by Florence: “Tackling is tackling, no matter who you tackle.” Words to live by.

Wide receiver Trovon Reed out for South Carolina game with shoulder injury

Wide receiver Trovon Reed is out for Saturday’s game against South Carolina with a shoulder injury, head coach Gene Chizik said Tuesday.

The redshirt freshman has the second most receptions on the team with 13. Mostly on screens, he has 91 receiving yards.

Reed also returns punts, averaging 5.2 yards per return.

That’s how he got hurt, taking a hard hit after fielding a punt in the fourth quarter against Florida Atlantic. He came off the field holding his shoulder.

Freshman Quan Bray is expected to fill Reed’s role at receiver and punt returner.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.