Tigers Have Plenty of Competition for Starting Spots

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - With several starting jobs on offense and special teams still appearing decidedly undecided, the Auburn coaches are using the trial-by-fire method of weeding out candidates.

Auburn, which begins two-a-day practice sessions Tuesday, will also use two scrimmages to settle the matters.

Coach Tommy Tuberville said Oscar Gonzalez, Andrew McCain, Antwoin Daniels and freshman Lee Ziemba are all in the mix for the right tackle spot.

Left tackle King Dunlap is the line's only returning starter.

Another position that's up for grabs is placekicker. Freshman Wes Byrum and redshirt freshman Ross Gornall are among the players vying for the job.

Redshirt freshman Ryan Shoemaker and newly arrived walk-on Patrick Tatum are trying to win the punting job.

Another position with a heap of contenders is at receiver, where Rod Smith is the only established starter. Tuberville said Robert Dunn, Prechae Rodriguez and redshirt freshman Tim Hawthorne have shown improvement.

The receiving corps will soon get a big addition. Chris Slaughter, a 2006 signee who spent last season at Hargrave Military Academy, said he has been cleared academically to join the team.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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