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AU coaches down on the defense
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BeliefBlazer Offline
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Location: Lawrenceville, GA

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The weather gods made it brutally hot.

Then Don Dunn and Terry Price made it even hotter.

Auburn's two defensive line coaches were so upset with their position players following Saturday's scrimmage that they made them stay after practice for 25 minutes of sprints, all under brutal conditions and long after their teammates and scholarship donors had departed.

The sprints lasted so long and were so hot and so exhausting that long-time defender Tommy Jackson said it was the toughest workout ever.

"Oh, yeah," Jackson barely could muster as a fellow defensive lineman completely submerged his head and neck in a cooler of ice.

The scrimmage was a highlight for new starting quarterback Brandon Cox, who was 13-of-19 passing for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Cox threw for almost 400 yards and five touchdowns in two scrimmages four days apart.

"Brandon, for the most part, was pretty sharp," said offensive coordinator Al Borges.

That was just about it for Saturday's praise.

Dunn, Price and defensive coordinator David Gibbs issued scathing reports on most of their players a year after Auburn led the nation in scoring defense. One of the few to escape their wrath was freshman defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, who went through the post-scrimmage workouts with plenty of energy to spare.

Other than that, Dunn said, "I'm so disappointed in this group - you can quote me on that. We have no leadership. We're not tough. And we're not ready to play."

The wind sprints - "that's a toughness drill," Dunn said - even disappointed the coaches.

"You can tell we're not very tough," Dunn said. "The head coach says we're not very tough, the defensive coordinator says we're not tough and I told y'all a week ago that we weren't very tough.

"They're all good kids, but some of them are better than the others. Sen'Derrick had a heck of a day, so he's probably first team right now. I know that sounds crazy. But you saw my senior quit, so we're not going to put up with quitters. If they're not tough, they need to transfer."

Price said the Tigers "lost a lot of tough players last year ... Doug Langenfeld, Jay Ratliff, Bret Eddins. Those guys were the definition of tough. We've got to get some toughness out of this young group right here. We haven't found them yet, but we're going to find them."

Gibbs found time to praise Cox. "He made some good decisions, made some good throws, made some good plays on us."

The defense, despite the criticism, allowed four running backs only 58 yards on 33 carries. Gibbs put the defense under tougher scrutiny, however, saying he used the entire defensive package against Cox without much success.

"I think our offense is tougher than our defense - physically and mentally," Gibbs said. "People who think our offense is not very good are going to be surprised on Sept. 3 because I think they're pretty good."
08-14-2005 09:33 PM
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