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Monday Morning Tiger Notes

By Jay Coulter

There’s only one weekend left to go without college football. We can officially say... It’s here. On Saturday I headed over to the football field to catch practice. I know it was closed. Well, let’s say it was almost closed. When I got there they were letting people in alright, but you had to be a scholarship donor.  

I offered to throw $20 in the hat for scholarships, but apparently they wanted a little more. So I stood between the trees for a few minutes trying to catch a glimpse.

Then I just decided to call it a day and head to Hooters with my Dad.  All in all, it wasn’t a terrible day. Instead of scouting the Tigers, I scouted potential tailgate food. If you haven’t tried them, I recommend the naked wings. And the scenery.

With the kids heading back to school and summer winding down, I’m sure many of you didn’t stay glued to the computer over the weekend.  Let me briefly catch you up on what’s going on at Auburn...

The Associated Press poll was released Saturday and Auburn begins the season ranked 18th. Count me as one of those who could care less. The coaches’ poll was released a few weeks back and has Auburn ranked 14th.

I searched for more than five minutes, but couldn’t find Alabama in the top 25. That’s got to be a shock to the Bama Nation. Surely the national media knows that Slick Nick is the second coming and it’s only a matter of months before the Tide is playing for it all? They’ve already claimed the in-state recruiting battle and it’s only August.

Auburn is close to locking down its starters for the season opener against Kansas State. Offensive line coach Hugh Nall announced that freshman sensation Lee Ziemba is running with the first team at right tackle.

That is not necessarily a good thing.

Starting a true freshman in the SEC is often an ugly sight, regardless of how talented the player is. The last Tiger to start on the line as a true freshman was Marcus McNeill of the San Diego Chargers. Things worked out pretty well for him.

Brad Lester will likely get the start in two weeks at tailback. After being pushed by Mario Fannin early in fall practice, it appears that Lester has solidified his hold on the position.

Speaking of Fannin, Ben Tate has made a late push for the back-up tailback spot. Tate ran as the number two back during the scrimmage on Friday and during practices over the weekend.

However, it looks like Tate will be moved to fullback should Carl Stewart not be ready to go in the opener. Stewart hasn’t practiced since pulling a hamstring on August 2nd.

During Friday night’s scrimmage, Blake Field and Kody Burns split time with the second team offense. Despite this, it will be a complete shock if Burns is not red-shirted this year.

The punt returning duties remain up the air. Robert Dunn has been inconsistent for most of fall practice and the coaches continue to work with Mario Fannin.  He also has been inconsistent at times. Dunn dropped two punts during Friday's scrimmage. Still, my guess is Dunn will line up against Kansas State.

With right offensive guard Leon Hart still nursing an ankle injury, it looks like red-shirt freshman Mike Berry may start at right guard. This O-line gets scarier by the day.

Auburn still has tickets available for the season opener with Kansas State. There’s really no excuse for the game not selling out. In fact, it’s downright embarrassing. If we want to remain among the elite, then we’ve (the fans) got to start supporting Auburn Athletics 100 percent.

Sure it will be hot and miserable, but it will also be Auburn football. Get off the couch and out of the air conditioner and join us.  I’ll be the guy in orange sweating a lot with a Budweiser Select in his hand. Be sure to say hello.