AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn head coach Gene Chizik suspended sophomore wide receiver and punt returner Quan Bray for at least Saturday’s game against Arkansas, the consequence for Bray’s off-field actions during the Tigers’ bye week.
Bray, 19, was arrested by University of West Georgia police Thursday after being pulled over for loud music, and being found to have a limited driver’s permit and possession of a bottle of alcohol.
Chizik praised Bray, a Troup County product, for his maturity last summer – when his mother was fatally shot in July 2011 in Lagrange and his father was charged with the murder – but maintained there were repercussions for stepping out of line.
“The reality is that Quan, for the last year and a half, has really had a lot of challenges,” Chizik said. “He’s been a great teammate, he’s been an honor roll student. I’m proud of the way in the last year and a half that he’s carried himself and the way he’s overcome a lot of adversity.
“Unfortunately, he made a bad decision this weekend, and what comes with that is consequences, so he won’t be playing in the game this week, and I’ll let you know when he’s going to be back out on the field. But it certainly won’t be against Arkansas.”
Sophomore Trovon Reed and freshman Ricardo Louis will be candidates to replace Bray in the punt return game and as slot receiver.
Bray ranks third on the Tigers with 11 catches for 82 yards. He has returned five punts for 23 yards, and had a critical fumble in Auburn’s previous game against LSU.
Bray was unavailable for comment Sunday.
“He understands that consequences happen when you make bad decisions,” Chizik said. “Every situation’s different, and I’m not going to go into the details of all of it. But he’s not going to play this week, and when he becomes able to participate, I’ll let you guys know.”
This is Auburn’s third suspension of the season for off-field run-ins, following center Reese Dismukes and wide receiver DeAngelo Benton.
“Part of our job as coaches is to help young guys grow up. That’s part of my job. In a perfect world, you don’t want any of these things to happen,” Chizik said. “But my job, as well as winning football games, is to help young guys come in here as boys at 18 and grow into men when they leave at 22. That’s what our goal is with any guys that make a decision that is not what you want. A high percentage of guys on our football team do exactly what we ask them to do.”
No overlooking: Auburn is a 10-point favorite over Arkansas, but the Tigers won’t disrespect a team which was ranked No. 8 less than a month ago.
“If we can go in there and throw the ball around, that would be a good boost for our confidence,” senior tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen said. “We’re not taking them lightly – there was a reason they were picked to be in national championship contention at the beginning of the year, so we’ve got our hands full.”
Sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier took note of how other teams have gashed Arkansas’ 120th-rated defense, but knows this won’t be a cake walk.
“(Texas A&M freshman quarterback) Johnny Manziel did a good job this weekend, and they scored 58 points,” said Frazier, from Springdale, Ark. “But we can’t base our preparation on what they did. They have a good team, they just haven’t played to their potential so far.”
Homecoming: Freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace went back to his stomping grounds in Phenix City to watch his Central Red Devils beat East Coweta 33-31 on Friday night.
Wallace won’t redshirt this season, after his first game action a week ago Saturday when he ran three times for 15 yards, including a pair of first downs against LSU.
“It’s a lot of love. When you’re going good, people will love you up,” Wallace said. “I just have to stay humble, continue to work hard and be productive for our team.”
They settled on a year.
That was two and a half years ago.
Over the bye week, Holland had his curly locks chopped off, and plans to donate “about three or four pounds” of hair, which is currently at his home in Birmingham. He hasn’t decided where yet, either to Locks of Love or Pantene.