CB Jerraud Powers

2007 Statistics

Coach: Tommy Tuberville
80-33, 9 years
2007 Record: 9-4
at Florida WON 20-17
at Arkansas WON 9-7
at Louisiana State LOST 24-30
at Georgia LOST 20-45
Clemson WON 23-20 (OT)

2007 Final Rankings
AP-15, Coaches-14, BCS-23

2008 Outlook

Apparently, results weren't good enough for Tommy Tuberville and the Auburn brass, who sent out the effective but "old school" offensive coordinator Al Borges in return for Tony Franklin, who brings something Auburn fans aren't used to in a fast-paced, modern spread attack. Franklin knows how to run his version of offense with amazing impact (came from Troy). When things will be at their peak, it dominates, but uncertainties at the quarterback position will put a lot of pressure on the defense and first-year coordinator Paul Rhoads. Talent is there at the helm, but a new signal caller is always a challenge, even when the offense is being revamped. How well the offense blends will eventually impact how well the defense does. The defense has plenty of talent, but even it will struggle if it's spending extra time due to the offense moving either too ineffectively or too fast. Time of possession is bound to lean on the D, regardless of which is true.

So, the big question centers on how effective the offense will be — not just at scoring points, but also at controlling the clock, which the offense in previous years was so good at. The last time this specific offense was on display in the SEC was in the late 1990s when Hal Mumme was the head coach at Kentucky. That's where Franklin learned the offense as an assistant coach and he had his Troy teams at the top of the Sun Belt in his two years with it. The special teams unit has all the pieces in place to be among the best in the country.

The Tigers get some breaks in the SEC schedule because the toughest games — Arkansas, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia — are all at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It doesn't get much easier than having to go to Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. And the Gators can't attempt revenge for their last two losses at the hands of the Tigers...another boon. A road trip to West Virginia on Oct. 23 will be the toughest test away from home, but the Tigers have an advantage in that Rhoads spent the last eight years preparing for the Mountaineers, beating them four times in that span (which is tied for the most of any team since 2000, an exclusive club he is in with only Miami and Virginia Tech).

Tuberville and most of his coaches have been together since he was at Ole Miss, and the expectations for a SEC West championship have been here every year…and for good reason. He demands the best from his players, his staff and himself. It won't be any different this year. Even if it isn't a championship and/or BCS year, the ground work will be set with so many young faces sure to learn tough lessons in the nation's toughest college football conference, lessons that will then pay off in 2009. Tuberville has done more with less, so the range of where this team lands is wider than usual. Nevertheless, this will be an exciting team again soon, a team worth following from the beginning to see if/how this much talent can re-adjust and truly bring an old classic like Auburn into the 21st century.

Projected 2008 record: 9-3
QB - 3 DL - 3.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 4.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 4
OL - 4 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Kodi Burns, 10-26-1, 145 yds., 2 TD

Rushing: Ben Tate, 202 att., 903 yds., 8 TD

Receiving: Rodgeriqus Smith, 52 rec., 705 yds., 5 TD

Scoring: Wes Byrum, 17-23 FG, 33-34 PAT, 84 pts.

Punting: Ryan Shoemaker, 49 punts, 42.4 avg.

Kicking: Wes Byrum, 17-23 FG, 33-34 PAT, 84 pts.

Tackles: Zac Etheridge, 65 tot., 37 solo

Sacks: Antonio Coleman, 8.5 sacks

Interceptions: Jerraud Powers, 4 for 35 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Mario Fannin, 19 ret., 21.0 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Robert Dunn, 32 ret., 9.4 avg., 0 TD


WR Rodgeriqus Smith
OFFENSE: Brandon Cox-QB, Carl Stewart-FB, Prechae Rodriguez-WR, Cole Bennett-TE, King Dunlap-OT, Blake Field-QB (transferred)
DEFENSE: Quentin Groves-DE, Josh Thompson-DT, Patrick Lee-CB, Jonathan Wilhite-CB, Eric Brock-FS, Patrick Sims-DT (NFL)

written by Drew Champlin

This isn't the Auburn offense of old. The Tigers were successful with its smashmouth, grind-it-out style that wore on defenses, but head coach Tommy Tuberville decided a change was need. It wasn't surprising to see Al Borges go, but it was surprising to see Tuberville go just down the road to hire Tony Franklin, the mastermind of Troy University's offensive success over the past two years (No.16 total offense at Troy in '07) and one of the leading innovators of the no-huddle, spread offense. In the recent years before his time in Troy, he ran a consultation business where he taught high schools all over the country his version of the spread offense. He likes to run and pass it equally, spreading the rock to anyone and everyone who has the ability to produce yards. The offense has the potential to put plenty of points on the board especially if a quarterback can develop and perform at an SEC level.

Franklin didn't just bring a new style of play with him; he also brings a quarterback in junior college transfer Chris Todd. The big gunslinger's start has been rough, as Todd has battled shoulder problems. He is getting better and if he's healthy, his arm strength and knowledge of this (kind of) offense (his high school in Elizabethtown, Ky., was a client of Franklin and ran this offense; he has known Franklin since those days) gives him a leg up on the competition. However, after two years at Texas Tech, he transferred to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College where he put up less-than-stellar numbers in a non-spread offense on a 2-8 team and suffered a dislocated shoulder. An MRI revealed no structural damage and Todd is back throwing it well again. When healthy, he's got a better arm than sophomore Kodi Burns, but Burns will be a change-of-pace guy who can hurt defenses with his feet. However, Burns has gotten by so far on his athleticism and has yet to master the throwing aspect of the college game. If Todd can't fully recover, Burns has the best chance to become the starter as he has held off returning junior Neil Caudle and true freshman DeRon Furr, who enrolled in January.

Auburn is set at running back with junior Ben Tate and senior Brad Lester, who caught Franklin's eye early. Both will rotate in the one-back set and while the carries may go down, the chance to catch the ball out of the backfield and make plays won't. There is no true fullback in this system. The injury bug has hit the tailback unit this spring, but none has been too serious. Senior Tristan Davis is a speed demon who can help anywhere, but missed nearly all of last season with a toe injury.

Sophomore Mario Fannin has stepped into a playmaker's role as a slot receiver and should see most of his time there instead of at running back, where he struggled with fumbles last year. This aspect will work well in the new system. Several options are there at receiver, but it's going to take all of them (and then some) to run the offense successfully, as players sub in and out on nearly every play. Leading receiver Rod Smith returns as does emerging junior Montez Billings. The biggest surprise should be Tommy Trott, who has dropped 20 pounds and is thriving as a tight end in the new offense. Trott and Gabe McKenzie were considered some of the best young talents in the SEC last year, but the tight end position (14 catches) was rarely utilized – one of the reasons Borges is no longer Auburn's offensive coordinator. Both will have chances to catch and block as Y-receivers (inside receivers) and other crazy H-Back roles. Terrell Zachery and Robert Dunn will also have to be consistent or move aside for those who grasp the new look. Chris Slaughter, James Swinton and Tim Hawthorne will get their chances as well.

The offensive line was moved around a lot last year and eventually started three true freshmen in Lee Ziemba, Chaz Ramsey and Ryan Pugh, but the most attention it got was for two separate "chop block" incidents, one when Ziemba was engaged with LSU star defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and Ramsey rolled into him and another incident with Pugh in the Peach Bowl against Clemson. The perceived dirtiness didn't help matters when Ziemba and teammate Antonio Coleman got into a skirmish this spring, an on-field scare that stopped a scrimmage and sent Coleman to the hospital where he was treated for a cervical sprain. Dirty or not, fans have reason to be optimistic because the three sophomore have nowhere to go but up in talent. The line did have to make a new adjustment and get in better shape with the pace of the offense. No longer are the 330-pounders required, but ones who can run and protect the passer. With the new offense, the offensive line shifts from being mostly bullish to being more finesse. Iambi and Pugh will be the tackles and Jason Bosley the center. Ramsey is trying to hold off Byron Isom at guard and Tyronne Green is the other returning starter at guard.


RB Ben Tate


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Kodi Burns-So (6-1, 205) Chris Todd-Jr (6-2, 212)
TB Ben Tate-Jr (5-11, 215) Brad Lester-Sr (5-11, 198)
Tristan Davis-Sr (5-10, 211)
WR Rodgeriqus Smith-Sr (6-0, 192) James Swinton-Sr (6-0, 178)
WR Montez Billings-Jr (6-2, 188) Robert Dunn-Sr (5-11, 178)
WR Chris Slaughter-So (6-3, 179) Mario Fannin-So (5-11, 217)
TE Tommy Trott-Jr (6-5, 251) Gabe McKenzie-Jr (6-4, 253)
Tim Hawthorne-So (6-3, 209)
OT Lee Ziemba-So (6-8, 290) Jared Cooper-Fr (6-4, 297)
OG Tyronne Green-Sr (6-2, 307) Kyle Coulahan-Fr (6-4, 309)
C Jason Bosley-Sr (6-4, 281) Mike Berry-So (6-3, 313)
OG Byron Isom-So (6-3, 291) Chaz Ramsey-So (6-4, 290)
OT Ryan Pugh-So (6-4, 284) Andrew McCain-Jr (6-6, 301)
K Wes Byrum-So (6-1, 220) Morgan Hull-So (6-2, 187)



written by Drew Champlin

Not long after Franklin was hired at Auburn, Will Muschamp, one of the top defensive minds in the country, left for a similar position at Texas. Who can blame him? With Auburn's offense spending less time on the field, the defensive statistics will be tough to maintain. New coordinator Paul Rhoads comes over after spending eight years at Pittsburgh. Rhoads' defenses at Pitt were always tough, but inconsistent — from 87th in 2006 to fifth overall last season, though his defense did end West Virginia's title hopes in a 13-9 Panther win in the regular season finale. With the A-list recruits here, Rhoads' approach will excel. Plenty of great players return on this defense, but more depth will have to be established as the Tiger defenders will likely be on the field longer if the offense is as quick as advertised.

A pair of juniors — Sen’Derrick Marks and Antonio Coleman — is amongst the SEC's best up front. Marks has moved back inside to offset the losses there, clearing the way for either Antoine Carter or Michael Goggans to have a breakout season at defensive end. Carter has been a pleasant surprise in the spring after Coleman's injury. Jake Ricks should man the other tackle spot beside Marks. Otherwise, the depth is unproven. Top JUCO product Raven Gray has the speed and experience to have an immediate impact. The backups are young but broken in, eliminating injuries as a possible derailing factor for the stopping efforts.

All three starting linebackers return, with junior Tray Blackmon, provided he stays out of the doghouse and remains healthy, as one of the nation's best. Craig Stevens has a world of potential and three more years to show it. Senior Chris Evans emerged last year as a starter and he's battling fellow senior Merrill Johnson for a starting spot this year. This corps plays light and fast, ready for branching out and matching up on extra receivers instead of needing to be rotated for with extra DBs so often.

Sophomore strong safety Zac Etheridge had a banner first season and corners Jerraud Powers and Aairon Savage are two physical cover guys Rhoads will love. Rhoads prides in his cornerbacks being good in man-to-man coverage; he has produced quite a few that are now in the NFL. Savage moved over from safety and he's battling with Walter McFadden for a spot alongside Powers. Savage missed six games last season with a knee injury and the move from safety to cornerback should help the 190-pounder take less of a pounding, though his man cover skills will be on display. Before Powers was bitten by a police dog late in the Iron Bowl, his interception in the end zone ended a first-half scoring drive in Auburn's sixth straight win over Alabama. Sophomore Mike McNeil, one of the highest-rated recruits in the 2007 class, will likely man the free safety spot.


DE Antonio Coleman


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Antonio Coleman-Jr (6-2, 250) Antoine Carter-So (6-4, 253)
DT Sen'Derrick Marks-Jr (6-1, 288) Mike Blanc-So (6-4, 287)
DT Jake Ricks-Jr (6-4, 302) Zach Clayton-So (6-3, 286)
DE Michael Goggans-So (6-3, 254) A.J. Greene-Fr (6-5, 269)
LB Craig Stevens-So (6-2, 219) Da'Shaun Barnes-Fr (6-2, 221)
LB Tray Blackmon-Jr (6-0, 220) Josh Bynes-So (6-2, 234)
LB Merrill Johnson-Sr (6-0, 209) Chris Evans-Sr (6-0, 221)
CB Jerraud Powers-Jr (5-9, 188) Ryan Williams-So (5-11, 204)
CB Aairon Savage-Jr (5-11, 190) Walter McFadden-Jr (6-0, 180)
SS Zac Etheridge-So (5-11, 206) Mike Slade-Fr (6-2, 189)
FS Mike McNeil-So (6-2, 201) Jonathan Vickers-Sr (6-2, 216)
P Ryan Shoemaker-So (6-0, 192) Clinton Durst-Fr (6-2, 190)




The image most fans have of sophomore Wes Byrum are of him hitting the game-winning field goal at Florida and doing the Gator chomp toward the Florida sideline. It was part of a year where Byrum hit 17-of-23 field goals, but struggled from 40+ by going 3-for-8 from that distance. Sophomore Ryan Shoemaker and Patrick Tatum both punted last year, but Shoemaker saw the most action. The future is now for the kicking game, and it is bright. If Tristan Davis is recovered from a toe injury that sidelined him nearly all of last season, Auburn's kick returning unit will be among the nation's best. Brad Lester is another quality option. Senior Robert Dunn (former Mr. Football, Georgia) is back to handle punts again.