Tape It Up: Auburn: Break Out The Tiger Balm

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Auburn: Break Out The Tiger Balm

Auburn suffered a blow last week when the Tigers dropped a home contest to South Florida, and now it looks like more was bruised than just the team's ego. Five different players are hampered by injuries that may keep them from starting on Saturday when the Tigers take on conference foe Mississippi State, and now is not a time Auburn can afford to have another letdown.

Starting linebacker Tray Blackmon and starting defensive back Aairon Savage are nursing injured ankles that may keep them off the field on Saturday. Both players tested their ankles in practices this week, but head coach Tommy Tuberville has said that participation for both sophomores will be a game-time decision, and that they are well aware of the plan to throw them into action as soon as they feel ready to go. Blackmon had a 49-yard interception return against Kansas State, one of the Tigers' two on the season.

Starting linebacker Merrill Johnson has a bruised shoulder and is doubtful to play, and punter Ryan Shoemaker is definitely out with a disloacted elbow. Johnson, a junior, has logged five tackles in two games this season. Shoemaker has eight punts on the year, averaging 45.1 yards per punt with two dropped inside the 20. Thankfully, freshman Patrick Tatum has already handled three punts, averaging 38.3 yards apiece, and will most likely handle the punting responsibilities this week.

Starting defensive back Jonathan Wilhite has been kept out of practices with a hamstring injury, but is expected to play on Saturday. Coaches are hoping that keeping the senior out of drills this week will have given him the chance to recover fully before taking the field against Mississippi State.

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