August 19, 2009

Injuries, depth impacting AU defense

It's no secret Auburn's has depth issues at several positions this season.

For proof, all you had to do was watch a portion of Wednesday's practice and see walk-on Ashton Richardson working with the first-team at linebacker.

With starter Eltoro Freeman still out with a hamstring injury and his backup, true freshman Jonathan Evans, out with an undisclosed injury, it was left to Richardson, listed on the roster as 6-foot, 190-pounds, to step into the fire.

That's not a knock on Richardson, who like most walk-ons, busts his tail in practice, usually in anonymity, with hopes of sneaking into a lopsided game late or helping out on special teams.

But it is an indication of what head coach Gene Chizik and his staff face as they prepare for their first season on the Plains.

Chizik said he and defensive coordinator Ted Roof are in constant discussions about the what-ifs on defense when it comes to filling holes at linebacker and other thin positions like corner and safety. Those discussions have developed into several plans.

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