AUBURN, Ala. — There is “no chance” Auburn reserve defensive lineman Cameron Henderson will play this year, head coach Gene Chizik said unequivocally Sunday.
Chizik said Henderson remains a member of the team but did not clarify why he will not play. The coach did not directly answer a question about Henderson’s eligibility.
“It’s some issues that are just … he won’t be playing this year, no,” Chizik said.
Henderson, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound redshirt freshman from Irondale, Ala., is one of several players who have not dressed this season for what are believed to be non-injury reasons.
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Another is wide receiver Philip Pierre-Louis, who worked his way back from a knee injury that cost him all of last season.
The redshirt freshman did not practice in the first part of August’s training camp, rejoining the team once school began after he had resolved what coaches termed “personal issues.” Chizik called Pierre-Louis’ situation “week-to-week.”
Asked if Pierre-Louis’ return is at his discretion or in somebody else’s hands, Chizik said, “Well, they’re pretty much all my discretion.”
Darvin Adams had two drops in the first half of Saturday’s game against Mississippi State, the kind of start that could derail a receiver’s night. But Auburn kept going back to the sophomore, and he responded with a career effort.
Adams, a starter along with Terrell Zachery, caught five passes for 116 yards against the Bulldogs, both career highs. He had 83 career receiving yards entering the game.
On the Tigers’ drive just before the half, quarterback Chris Todd connected with Adams three times for 69 yards, the last reception taking the ball to the 1-yard line and setting up a touchdown run by Kodi Burns.
Todd had no reservations about going back to Adams despite his first-half drops.
“You kind of get a feel for a person,” Todd said. “You practice with him every day and everybody knows what he’s capable of. Sometimes it happens in games, somebody is going to have drops. If you know what they can do and what they’re capable of, you come back to them and let them make a play and he did. He responded in the right way and made a few plays after that.”
Many fans showed their displeasure last December when Chizik was hired to replace Tommy Tuberville, underwhelmed by the coach’s 5-19 record in two years at Iowa State.
West Virginia’s Bill Stewart can relate. Stewart replaced Rich Rodriguez, who revitalized the Mountaineers’ football program before taking his spread option offense to Michigan.
Stewart, now 56, was West Virginia’s quarterbacks coach for eight years under Rodriguez but had only one previous head coaching job, an unsuccessful 8-25 stint at Virginia Military Institute from 1994-96.
Fan reception in Morgantown, W.Va., hasn’t been universally positive, although Stewart has posted a 12-4 record in just a little over two years, with a Fiesta Bowl victory against Oklahoma highlighting his résumé.
“I’ve got skin thicker than tree bark,” Stewart said. “Don’t worry about me. (Criticism) doesn’t enter my equation.”
Tight end Tommy Trott left just before halftime of last Saturday’s game with an apparent knee injury. Chizik offered no details about its severity Sunday, calling Trott “day-to-day.” ... The SEC announced that Saturday’s game against the Mountaineers will be televised by ESPN2. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. ET.