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Sunday News and Notes...

By Jay Coulter
Auburn completed its split squad practices on Saturday. The first three practices of the season have been divided into two sessions, with the freshmen practicing in the morning and the upper classmen practicing in the late afternoon.

The highlight of yesterday’s practice was the return of quarterback Brandon Cox, who has missed all week with the flu. Does it seem like Cox has the flu at least once a year? I believe I had the flu 10 years ago. Get the man a flu shot. Cox showed little effect from the illness until late in the practice when he began tailing off a bit. It could have something to do with it being 92 degrees and feeling like 192 degrees.

Two players who missed practice yesterday for the right reasons were defensive back Zach Gilbert and defensive lineman Tez Doolittle. Both of them took part in graduation ceremonies. Congrats to Zach and Tez. Former Tiger and current student assistant, Travaris Robinson also graduated yesterday, but chose not to attend the ceremony so he could be at... practice. That’s not something you see everyday.

In case you missed it, Carl Stewart was carried off the field during Friday’s practice after pulling a hamstring. Tommy Tuberville says he should only miss four or five days of practice. This worries me. Those hamstring injuries tend to linger and cause problems all season. Let’s hope he can shake it off.

Tuberville has laid down a challenge to back-up quarterback Blake Field. Apparently, he is not happy with the way the junior has performed at times this year. Inside the Auburn Tigers is reporting this morning that Tuberville has told Field that he needs to step up and prove he’s the number two quarterback on the team.

"He needs to have a new attitude," the head coach said. "He needs to practice a lot better than he did in the spring...Last year he came out hot in two-a-days and kind of went south on us a little bit. I am hoping he sticks where he is going. He has really gotten better. He is practicing better. He is a little bit more focused. He knows the offense better and that always helps," Tuberville said.

Finally, if you are feeling a little bad about putting on some extra weight this summer, you’re not the only one. Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman has also enjoyed his summer vacation; so much so that he flunked the team’s conditioning test this week.

Freeman was widely considered one of the top returning quarterbacks in the Big 12. That was until he got fat. How fat was he? Big Josh got up to 265 pounds. That’s a big quarterback. Last year he passed for 1,780 yards and became the first freshman quarterback to start for the Wildcats since 1976. Auburn opens the season September 1st against Kansas State at Jordan Hare Stadium.